Paul's Reviews > Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

Dear Genius by Ursula Nordstrom
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's review
Sep 17, 2008

really liked it
Read in October, 2008

An interesting read to see, from the editor's point of view, how some of the most famous children's books came into being. Works by authors like Sendak and Shel Silverstein, and books like Harriet the Spy and Charlotte's Web abound here in the Nordstrom letters, with the authors' careers forming, and the books themselves being jiggled back and forth until both editor and author felt they were just right.

Nordstrom had a very cajoling style to her editing, but also quite a force coming through her words. She would plead, or she would demand, sometimes begging and ordering within the same sentence.

I was particularly amused by the letters where she was stroking the writer's egos, because that's sometime any writer, myself included, needs to hear at times. And I was likewise amused by how Nordstrom was an editor of children's books, but HATED her authors to have children of their own, because she felt those little rug-rats took too much of her authors' precious time. A funny, spirited woman. I wish she could have been my editor.

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