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It's Picture Day Today!

By Megan McDonald, Katherine Tillotson

Behind the Book

Glue! Glorious glue!

I may be the only writer on the planet inspired to write a book about glue.

But if you’ve ever witnessed a toddler discovering glue for the first time, you’d be inspired, too.

I was making an art project with my niece. We had tons of buttons, feathers, stickers, scraps, recyclables. We were madly coloring, cutting, pasting, until… out came the glue. Her eyes grew wide. Her face lit up. Her hand reached out. Glue was suddenly the crayon, the marker, the brush, the medium.

That moment stuck with me. (Pun intended!) I scribbled down draft after draft, about a girl and her glue. I called Dick Jackson, the only editor on the planet who might publish a book about glue. He asked, “Where’s the story?”

More scribbling. More drafts. More dummies. Still no glue.

I called Dick, the maestro, again. He asked me to tell him the story aloud.

I began, “In came the buttons, followed by feathers. Then you see string, and springs, and those wheely things. Sequins, squiggles, stars, etc. It’s kind of like mess, mess, mess, then along comes Glue and saves the day.”  

He told me, “That’s your story. Start there.”

I was getting closer. But the book was still reading like March of the Craft Supplies. I was missing the most important element—the glue that would hold it all together. The magic. 

When the pieces assembled themselves, what would they become? A zoo? Circus? Safari? Symphony? “A valentine?” Dick asked, in a message left on my answering machine. Finally, just when I stopped looking so hard, it came to me in a flash. There they were. All put together. All looking their Sunday best for… Picture Day!