A children’s book writer known as “The Singing Author” kept ’Wick’s youngest spellbound as she spoke and sang at two assemblies on Feb. 19.
Tish Rabe, author of Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library books, slipped with ease between a sweet speaking voice and a lilting singing one as she captivated her Pre School audience with stories about how she got to be an author who writes children’s science books in the style of Dr. Seuss.
Rabe told the boys she had two great loves as a young person.
“In high school, I loved to do two things,” she said. “I loved to write, and I loved to sing.”
Initially, singing was her choice, and she graduated from Ithaca College School of Music cum laude with a degree in vocal performance, singing both opera and jazz.
After college, with the help of her high school music director, she got a job with the Music Department for Sesame Street, and in 1985 began writing books for the series.
Years later, she decided to write a story with her own character, Maurus O’Raurus, the Oops-a-saurus.
Rejection followed, but there was good news too. Following the death of Dr. Seuss, Random House was seeking an author to write for a new series, Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, featuring nonfiction rhyming books about science.
Rabe has now written 56 books for the series, and she told Brunswick boys all about how she goes about doing that. If she’s writing about dogs, she said, the first thing she does is gather fun facts about dogs.
Then, the hard part comes.
“I have to write in a very special rhythm,” she said, emphasizing that rhythm as she read to the boys. “Everything has to be in Dr. Seuss rhythm.”
“To make things more interesting,” she continued, “I have to rhyme everything!”
At Brunswick, kindergartners are studying space. So, Rabe spoke to boys about her book There’s No Place Like Space, including how she had to revisit it after Pluto was demoted.
“That’s what we call revision,” she told the boys. “That means making changes.”
As February 20 would be the 100th day of school, Rabe spoke to Pre K boys around that theme, including all the counting fun that comes with it. She brought along her book The 100 Hats of the Cat in the Hat: A Celebration of the 100th Day of School.
“The visit was a total success,” said Pre School Head Gina Hurd. “The combination of reading and music kept the boys’ attention. Tish was wonderful with the boys, in presenting information and answering their questions about being an author.
“Her message was ‘follow your dream and do what you love to do!’”