If you go into your backyard anywhere in the United States and start digging, you will eventually reach China. (I can't tell you if this applies to other countries, as I've never tried them.) China is where I was born. The picture above proves it (unless it doesn't and you think the picture is of someone else). But if you can take my word for it, it's a picture of me and my sister and our amah. (I'm the smallest one.)

Because I was born in China, but now live here, I believe that I was essentially born upside down. Well, come to think of it, most babies are, but I'm talking about geographically upside down. Because of this, it's possible that I have a rather upside down view of things. I personally don't think so, but I can't speak for anyone else.

This is about as much bio as I'm going to put here. You've accepted my books' invitation to come into their parlor, so I assume it's my books you want to know about, not me. Well, come to think about it, I'll have to be talking about me when I'm talking about my books. Sorry. Can't escape that.

At any rate, there is more than you could ever want or need to know about me in one of the books called Something About the Author, Autobiography Series. You probably can't find it on your Public Library shelves, though, as I can't find it on mine. Pity. My autobiography is right next door to that of Philip Pullman. Yes, that PHILLIP PULLMAN, who wrote The Golden Compass, and all the rest. Unfortunately, he has never shared any of his greatness with me. Well, unless you consider the fact that we're neighbors. But then, he can't help that, now can he?

Also you might find something about me in Major Writers and Illustrators of Children's and Young Adults. I did not receive a request to write something for this book very graciously, I'm sorry to say. Just one more time to go on about my tiresome self for some book no one would ever read. I reluctantly agreed to do it, and then found out I was to be in the company of the likes of Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens. Yes, that CHARLES DICKENS! He, who makes me grow faint when the word Dickensian is applied to some of my books. It would certainly have served me right, wouldn't it, if I'd said, "Never"?

About the books. I'll say what I'd like everyone to know about them, even if it's just my own opinion. Naturally, I'll quote reviewers, but only if it's bits approved by me. I can do that. It's my web site. So please bear that in mind as you read on. If you do, that is. You don't have to, you know. There will not be a quiz.

Before I start in on books, however, I would like to quote to you some things I had taped to the wall over my desk. I say "had" because I no longer have that useful wall, so I will put them here instead.

"High up in the North in the land called Svithjob, there stands a rock. It is a hundred miles high and a hundred miles wide. Once every thousand years a little bird comes to this rock to sharpen its beak. When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by."

(Doesn't something like this make you feel really important in the whole scheme of things?)

I don't know anything about adults beyond the fact that they're obsolete children.

- Theodor S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss)


If I want it, it's mine.
If I give it to you and change my mind later, it's mine.
If I can take it away from you, it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
If it's mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what.
If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

Not hanging on my wall, but lying on my desk, was a rock. It was supposed to say on one side, "Please turn me over." When you did, it would say, "Thanks, that feels much better." I saw a rock like this on my doctor's desk. I think it's very funny. Some day I still intend to paint these words on my rock. If I can find it. We've moved and I think it's lost. But I will look for another, and some day I'll have a rock that says, "Please turn me over."


I'll start with the book that's been the most important to me in my writing life, Peppermints in the Parlor. Also, because after twenty-three years, I've finally written a sequel. I wrote it for the long-ago boys and girls who, with their teachers and librarians, pleaded for one. The boys and girls are grown up now, but I hope they'll remember it all the same.