Roy Kesey

by Susan Henderson on September 6, 2006

A 5-year-old discusses the importance of her father’s book.

Very briefly, before I get to today’s interview, I want to tell you that I have a photo essay up at Brad Listi’s It’s about my greyhound, Steve, and some other things. Okay, on to today’s show.

Chloe is five and she is one of my favorite people on the planet. She lives in China with her little brother, Thomas, her beautiful diplomat mother, and her father, Roy Kesey, author of NOTHING IN THE WORLD – one of those rare books that both Mr. Henderson and I loved.

Chloe knows a lot about the world already: that HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON is the best book ever, that lemon meringue pie is better than carrots, that you should be nice to rabbits, that little brothers are fun for playing Memory and not for putting together puzzles, that DORA THE EXPLORER and ELASTIGIRL rule, and that if you spend the day dancing like Twyla Tharp, you can say that day was well-spent.

But what does she know of her father’s newly published book?

Today, Chloe is going to talk about this very important book, and other things she finds equally important.


INTERVIEW WITH CHLOE, take 1, Dad as interviewer:

1. What do I do all day?

You look at people. You write some books. You do exercise like the ones Thomas does, the push-ups. You take pictures of orange flowers sometimes.

2. Do you like my office?

A little bit.

3. How could it be better?

With a lamp. A blue lamp, with green.

4. What’s that picture you’re drawing?

There’s flowers and the sun and a tree and a house. And some grass. It doesn’t have any more stuff. In the house, Tom is playing, and I’m drawing, and Mommy is playing with me and Tom, and you’re working on the computer. Then we’ll have lunch. Chicken, rice, soup, papa a la huancaína and gingerbread boys.

5. And what’s this other picture?

It’s of all the colors. Actually, it isn’t anything. I was thinking it was just a page with all the colors. I did the green at the end because I don’t really like green so I wanted it at the end. The best colors are pink and black. I choose them every day. This part here looks like a stick.

6. Of all the trips we’ve taken so far, which one was your favorite?

Hawaii. I liked the trees and the sharks.

7. Um. The sharks?

Yes. Actually, I didn’t really see it but Crazy Dave saw it, and that made me run away, and that was fun. I still wasn’t scared, though. I ran because it was in the water and I didn’t want it to eat me, but really there wasn’t one.

[Interviewer’s Note: Crazy Dave is Chloe’s uncle, David Clark, who will be hearing some rather sharp words from me about all of this shark business, believe you me.]

8. Do you like my book?

It’s great.

9. Have you read it?



10. What do you think it’s about?

Pears? I can’t think of anything else.

11. Do you like the cover?

Yes. I like fruit.

12. Do you think writing books is easy or hard?

It’s hard but fun.

13. If you wrote a book, what would it be about?

Maybe about Dora and sea-horses and turtles. Dora would ask the map for some help. I would read it to my brother.

[I wonder, does Chloe know I met Dora in real life?]

14. What would be on the cover?

Blue flowers and the sun. (Holds up Buzz Lightyear action figure.) Look, Buzz is doing yoga. Little baby yoga.

15. What’s baby yoga?

(Pulls her shirt up over her head.) Look, I’m not here anymore.

16. Honey, are you bored?

You can’t ask me because I’m not here.

17. Want some tomatoes?


18. Some onions?


19. Some ice cream?

Yes! But after lunch, right?

20. Exactly.

INTERVIEW WITH CHLOE, take 2, Mom via stuffed animal (cheetah) as interviewer:

1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A mermaid or a princess. Actually I already have the new pearls of a princess, so . . . But I’m actually going to be a mermaid.

2. What does Daddy do all day?

He reads books. He has a lot of them. He works and works and works on the computer for the university.

3. Do you like Daddy’s book?


4. What is it about?

I don’t know.

5. If you write a book, what will it be about?

Lots of things. But actually I don’t like to read. I like movies. I want to be like Jimmy Jet the TV Set.

6. The boy whose head turns into a television because he watches it too much?


7. Chloe, that poem is about how it’s bad to watch too much television.

I know.

8. Oh.