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Cyndy Szekeres & Amaryllis

When I started my career in publishing in the 1970s, I had the great good fortune to work with Cyndy Szekeres. on a few books—before she went on to publish exclusively with Golden Books. She was an important person in my life.

Our friendship began when she illustrated a "Break of Day" book--part of a series my boss thought would overtake the success of Ursula Nordstrom's I CAN READs. The title eludes me, but it was set in the early 1900s. A little boy was playing with a flower blossom, pretending it was one of those old-fashioned telephones. This really upset his mother. I loved the flower he was using and had never one like it before. Cyndy told me it was an amaryllis. She'd chosen it because of its shape, and because she though the mother would have prized it highly.

Cyndy quickly became famous for her animal characters, including Pippa Mouse.

Here's a picture from her 1975 MY WORKBOOK DIARY.

When I visited her studio in Putney, Vermont, Cyndy showed me how she would recreate little scenes using

twigs and grasses and flowers and other real objects as

reference for her pictures.

I just ran across a card she sent me for Christmas around 1998--the sketch you see at the top of the page.

Three amaryllis are in their second blooms in my dining room. I get some every fall. For years they've been part of my Christmas holidays, thanks to Cyndy.

I like to try painting them, too.


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