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When Pat Met Susan

By Pat Hutchins

1966 was an incredible year for me. Laurence and I got married in London a week before we sailed to New York, where we would live for the next year and a half. Laurence was working as an art director at a big advertising company, and I was a secondary alien, hoping to find some freelance work illustrating children’s books.

Pat and Laurence Hutchins, circa 1966. Pat, mysteriously, is holding a landmine.

We rented a tiny apartment in Greenwich Village in a lovely brownstone, and totally fell in love with New York—despite the cockroaches. While Laurence was at work, I plucked up the courage to approach some publishers with my art school illustrations.

I was incredibly lucky to meet Susan Hirschman, who kindly agreed to see me. I showed her a story I was working on about farm animals. Susan stoically read every page (it went on forever), and pointed at one sentence: “This is the fox, he never makes a noise.”

“I like that,” she said. “Work on that idea.” So my book about noises became noiseless, and the three hundred and odd words became thirty-three, and the barnyard became Rosie’s Walk.

So in my first year in New York, my first picture book was published and I felt I owned the town. And when Susan set up Greenwillow Books, I felt so proud to be part of such a wonderful team. Thirty-five years later, still am.

3 Comments

  1. cindy says:

    the foto is fantastic! i love
    pictures and journeys to publication.
    tell me that darling video wasn’t made
    in 1970?!?!?!

  2. Sharon P.D. says:

    Pat, used Rosie’s Walk every year for thirty years in our story hours and the delightful film as well, one of my all time favorite books….and I think one of the best lines in children’s lit is “Rosie the Hen Went For a Walk”!!

  3. mwt says:

    Sailed? You went by ship? How long did it take?

    When I came to New York for the first time to meet Susan and everyone at Greenwillow, Susan gave me a copy of What Game Shall We Play? We read it thousands and thousands and thousands of times to the boys. I love all your books, Pat, but that will always be a favorite.

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