Beyond Vassar

A Coincidence of Children's Books

Lenny Hort ’78, Rob Maass ’78, and Yona Zeldis McDonough ’79 all had new children’s books come out this spring — coincidentally with the same publisher, Henry Holt and Company. In yet another coincidence, the publicist promoting all of these books is also a Vassar graduate—Andrea Wilk ’79. Wilk reports to the VQ: “Hort, who has been an associate editor at Dial Books and an editor at William Morrow, has been writing children’s books for years. His latest books are The Seals on the Bus (published by Henry Holt), a funny and whimsical version of  “The Wheels on the Bus...” children’s song; Tie Your Socks and Clap Your Feet (Simon & Schuster/ Atheneum), a collection of nonsense poetry, and Treasure Hunts (HarperCollins), a how-to book for kids and parents on creating treasure and scavenger hunts.

“Maass’s books are a natural outgrowth of his work as a photographer for Newsweek. He 
specializes in photo essays for young children on a wide range of topics: When Autumn ComesTugboatsGarden, and Firefighters (all from Holt). Garbage, his 10th, offers a detailed pictorial essay on the subject of what happens to our trash.

“Three out of McDonough’s five children’s books are about strong female characters — Anne FrankEve and Her Sisters: Women of the Old Testament (both Holt), and the current Sisters in Strength: American Women Who Made a Difference, a picture- book biography of 11 famous American women. McDonough, who has a daughter of her own, feels it’s crucial for girls to have role models. “The news is filled with people whose exploits are anything but exemplary—all the more reason to expose children to Harriet Tubman and Helen Keller, women whose fame was based on accomplishment, bravery and heroism—not self-indulgence and disgrace.”