Drawn Together: O.C. Illustrator Bids Adieu to Fancy Nancy and Greets a New Collaborator

Robin Preiss Glasser. Photo credit: Ralph Palumbo


Artist Robin Preiss Glasser of San Juan Capistrano had wrapped up her mega-bestselling picture book series when she met celebrated “Bel Canto” author Ann Patchett last year. The meeting sparked the first children’s book by Patchett, “Lambslide.” It’s about a pack of lambs who hear the word “landslide,” mistakenly think that they’re getting a “lambslide,” and then campaign to get one. Here’s what Glasser and Patchett say about their creative partnership.

How they met
A year and a half ago, after 15 years of doing 80 “Fancy Nancy” books, I was on my last book tour in Nashville—as I’ve been many times, many years in a row—and Ann was never at the bookstore she co-owns, but there she was. And we got talking; we hit it off.
Patchett: So Robin comes in, she says, “Here I am with ‘Fancy Nancy: Oodles of Kittens.’ ” The best title in the world, “Oodles of Kittens.” She says, “Fancy Nancy is over, would you write a children’s book for me?” I said, “No, I don’t know how to write children’s books.” And, in my memory, Robin said, “Let’s sit down, and I’ll show you how to do this.”

The inspiration for “Lambslide”
The origin story of the book is that Conor Lamb won the 17th congressional district in Pennsylvania and there was a picture in The New York Times. It was at the rally after he won and someone was holding a sign that said “Lambslide,” and I said to my husband, “I have to go upstairs for a while. I have to write a children’s book.”
Glasser: You have to be brilliant and have practiced writing for 55 years to be able to write a picture book in an evening. Nobody else can do it. I promise.

Their complementary talents
When I write a novel, I have to say, Nicolette is the main character. She has short red curly hair. She wears a red-and-yellow checked jumpsuit and little yellow cowboy boots. She’s this tall. All this description. For the children’s book, I’m like: Nicolette Farmer. Period. Three lambs. Period. (Robin) does all the heavy lifting. She can differentiate three lambs. That’s what everybody keeps saying: The lambs have so much personality. The pigs have their own thing. The goat has his own thing. I don’t have to do any of that. That’s just Robin.
Glasser: She has to get the whole story, which I can’t do for the life of me. If I could, I would be doing it. We are like the other half of each other’s yin and yang.

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