Rainer and Mary / by abby hanlon

I've been getting a lot of emails from parents of readers. I am so touched by how many parents take the time to sit down and write a beautiful and thoughtful letter to an author. Parents tell me about how their child responded to the Dory books. When I read these descriptions, it's as if I have no imagination -- I just can't believe it --I just can't picture how my books have translated into meaning for a child.  But then comes along six-year old Rainer: 

Dear Mrs. Hanlon,
As a lifelong teacher and artist, I must say thank you for creating
two side-splitting books that made me lose my breath at times
while reading them to my six-year-old daughter.  Each one was

Rainer and I laughed. We cried. We laughed and cried at the
same time. We guffawed and grimaced. We squealed with
delight. Dory is our new heroine. 

At bedtime, my daughter and I ate every word of Dory Fantasmagory
like a huge bowl of whipped cream. By the next day, word spread
through the halls of her elementary school that there was one and
only ONE book to read. 

At my daughter's urging, I bought class sets for kindergarten
and first grade.  The next night we read Dory and the Real
True Friend.  It was just as enchanting and true-to-life
as your first work.  Unfortunately, my daughter's appetite
for Dory was not sated. She fell asleep chanting, "More
Dory! More Dory! More Dory!"  I assured her that more
Dory was on the way in September. She is restless with

Today, as I sat in the cafeteria having lunch with kindergarten,
I looked over at first grade sitting at nearby tables. Several
kids were busily talking on their banana phones. I walked
over and asked Aren who he was talking to. He looked up
and said, "I'm talking to Mr. Nuggy. I am trying to convince
him to turn the school into ice cream."  

Thank you, Abby! Thank you for sharing Dory's magic
with us and for bringing her contagious spirit to my
daughter's school.  It was pretty quiet before Dory
came to visit. 

With heartfelt thanks,
Katherine Lemons Stoyer and Rainer Stoyer

After I wrote back them back, I received another note, telling me that Mr. Nuggy had been notified: 

At first there was stunned silence in the kitchen and in the adjoining office as I read your e-mail aloud. Then Rainer grabbed me around the neck and giddily danced while shouting, "O, my goodness! O, my goodness! I can't believe it. No one will believe it. I need to call Mr. Nuggy." 
And so she did, after retrieving a banana from the fruit bowl on the counter. Mr. Nuggy didn't seem surprised at all. Rainer said he was used to magical things happening.

And then.... a few weeks later, Rainer's mom wrote me again with the news that "Mary emerged from a pile of fleece, polyfill, fur, and candy-striped pantyhose." 

When she wrote, "PS Mary says hello!" I started to wonder, Did she???

Thank you Katherine and Rainer.