Author's Note
Vivian Walsh

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I enjoy making things up, but I need a little assistance from real life. The Mr. Lunch and Olive books are based on my very real and dear dogs. Mr. Dexter Lunch was a noble beast, his companion was the more unruly: Olive. She inspired the character, Olive, as she was a petite but lion-hearted dog that would often get confused. Olive's name inspired the titles, Olive, the Other Reindeer and Olive My Love, as it sort of sounds like the words All Of. I named her Olive because she looked like one when she was a baby.

I am sorry to report to all web readers that I currently have no pet dogs to inspire a new picture book hero. Without dogs, I am writing about possums, elephants and snakes. My kids miss having a dog in the house and suggest we get a real possum, elephant or snake...for research.

One of my children is such a big animal lover that he used to count any moth that entered our premises as a pet. He loves all animals, dogs first, but there is nothing that doesn't make the list, win his heart and fascinate him. We told that to their Grandmother, and she said, "Oh yes, that is like Konrad von Prittwitz und Gaffron." He is a German ancestor who hundreds of years ago bought the castle my mother spent part of her childhood in.

He was also an animal devotee. When he moved into the castle, it had stood empty for decades with no one inside besides the castle mice. Konrad decided he would keep the mice as roommates. He was happy to live alongside the clever creatures. He enjoyed watching them chase each other up and down the new curtains that he had hung in the windows. I would not accept a dinner invitation to that castle. Would you? Are you intrigued by a man who would buy himself a castle, and befriend a mouse? Maybe this shall be the subject of my 100th picture book. This is a good example of real life helping to create a new storybook.

I am presently writing a book about two sweet and friendly hippos. No one is suggesting adding a hippo to our home. I am glad. I would hate to make my way downstairs for my morning cappuccino only to find my plans waylaid by a hippo wedged in the stairwell. We stare at hippos at the zoo. You can tell they never brush their teeth. They only have four, so you would think they would like to take extra good care of them. Hippos are not really good roommates...except in picture books.

I wonder what the hippos at the zoo think of us?

Picture books are all about choosing an animal and then making it act like a little human.

Vivian Walsh is the author of these books
* * * Olive * * *
Olive, the Other Reindeer
Olive My Love
* * * * * * Mr. Lunch * * * * * *
Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride
Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe
Free Lunch
* * * Space Monkey * * *
Monkey Business
* * * * * * And Everyone's favorites * * * * * *
Penguin Dreams
Going to the Getty

e-mail Vivian Walsh