Your bookshelf no doubt contains at least one or two of Mo Willems‘ infectiously happy books, doesn’t it? Hopefully more! I love how every one of his stories has wonderful lessons to share in a simply enjoyable way, whether you’re stifling giggles while reading one of the Pigeon’s hilarious lines or just marveling at the heart-breaking, grown-up generosity of Trixie. Without exception, they’re all so much fun to read aloud, even though I personally find it difficult to compose myself when Edwina shows Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie what kindness and friendship truly mean. Oh, that sweetheart dinosaur!
Q: Was your childhood as creative and full of funny moments as we imagine it?
A: While by no means tragic, my childhood was mostly lonely. I suppose that’s why I enjoy writing for kids; I want to show them that someone is on their side. I was lucky, however, in having spent much of my childhood reading comics and traveling, for which I am very grateful.
Q: Describe the view from where you write and draw.
A: My studio is perched on the top of an old, rambling Victorian in a small town in the North East. My desk has a front row seat to woods, my wife’s garden, kajillion of birds, and an occasional frolicking dog. I’ll have to remember to look out of it from time to time.
Q: What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family?
A: I love dinner with the family because we get to chat, eat, drink, and end our meal doodling on a big sheet of paper that serves as our tablecloth. It is an efficient combination of my favorite things. I am also an avid petanque player.
Q: What’s the best parenting advice you’ve either received or given?
A: Hug your kid.
Q: You used to be a stand-up comedian; what’s your favorite joke?
A: You can’t go wrong with the classic:
“Why was 6 afraid of 7?”
“Because 7 was a jealous, unstable sociopath with violent tendencies and 6 was a paranoid neurotic to begin with.”
There may be another answer to that one; I’m not sure.
Don’t you love the idea of a giant piece of paper as a tablecloth? Honestly, these author interviews and home tours are giving me so many gentle reminders that it’s the simplest things that mean the most. I hope you’re finding beautiful treasures to keep, too!
Thank you, Mo, for playing along in the middle of a very busy schedule!
P.S. — Here’s a charming video of Mr. Willems. Take a peek: