Monday, October 21, 2013


PAMELA'S FIRST MUSICAL was Wendy Wasserstein's only children's book, but it wasn't the only thing she published with children as the intended audience. She contributed to Marlo Thomas's 2004 book Thanks & Giving All Year Long.

Thomas is most famous as the creator of the 1972 classic book and album Free to Be...You and Me, an anthology of songs and stories by celebrities meant to teach that it is okay to break normal gender stereotypes. Thomas has since used the format in several other books, the most recent of which is Thanks & Giving. The title really says it all with regards to this book's message, although some of the entries seem a stretch. (Matt Groening's Life in Hell bunny finds a dollar on the sidewalk and buys a banana split?)

Wasserstein shares a bedtime conversation she had with her daughter Lucy Jane, who was four at the time. In "The Rotten Tomato," Lucy Jane asks for a bedtime story about a rotten tomato. Wasserstein wants to tell a story about a good tomato. Lucy Jane is willing to allow a good tomato to be in the story, but the rotten tomato has to win. They go back and forth with Wasserstein spelling out why being a "good" tomato is better than being a "rotten" one.  As you would expect from Wasserstein, the scene is quite funny. (Click on the scans below to read.) Lucy Jane illustrated the story.

Wasserstein did have work included in one other anthology intended for young people, 33 Things Every Girl Should Know, but the essay comes from one of her collection Bachelor Girls, and was not conceived of as a children's story.

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