Even the most prolific writers find themselves occasionally stymied when inspiration fails to strike. But despite already having published thirteen books (with four more on the way!), children’s book writer Elizabeth Cody Kimmel had no trouble starting My Penguin Osbert, a hilarious romp that warns, “be careful what you wish for.” “It suddenly came to me all at once,” she says. “Literally in a flash, with the name Osbert and everything.”
In My Penguin Osbert, a young boy’s Christmas wish for a living, breathing penguin comes true, but it turns out that the gift is more than the boy bargained for. Although the book’s plot seemingly came to Elizabeth Cody Kimmel out of nowhere, she says, “When I mull it over, I think the seed of the book really comes from my own absolute fixation with Antarctica. . . . I long to go and visit and walk on its glaciers and camp out in one of those high-tech tents, eating frozen chocolate and drinking tea.” Still, the writer admits that her dreams of the arctic may be better left as fantasy, since “I keep my space heater on well into the spring, always have fat socks and a down vest nearby, and am always, always cold. Joe is fascinated with the idea of having a penguin, and I am fascinated with the idea of being in Antarctica. But in reality Joe is better off without a penguin, and me . . . well, I just returned from Mexico.”
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel enjoys hiking and rock climbing. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughter.