Bestselling author James Patterson, who has written more than 150 books, has launched his second children’s picture book, co-authored with his wife, Susan, called “Big Words for Little Geniuses.”
The couple, who live in Palm Beach, Florida, will be at Book Revue in Huntington at 7 tonight to talk to grown-ups about “Big Words” and sign copies of the book, released Monday. James Patterson will also talk about and sign his new adult novel, “The Store,” about a company that is taking over the world.
The Pattersons, married for more than 20 years and parents of one college-age son, talked to Newsday about collaborating on a book aimed at kids ages 2 to 5.
How did you come up with the idea for “Big Words for Little Geniuses” and why did you want to write it?
Susan: I had always wanted to do a children’s book, and I also love big words. I just think they’re cool . . . the sounds of them.
James: This is basically an ABC book, but a really cool one. Our key thing here is to associate books with kids in a real fun way. That it’s fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. Let’s optimize what kids can be, really get them comfortable and loving books.
What are your favorite words from the book?
Susan: Arachibutyrophobia [Ah-RACK-ee-byoo-tee-ro-FO-bee-ya].
James: I love what it means. [Fear of] peanut butter stuck on the roof of your mouth. Of course with kids, tokus is a big one — the butt, the tush, the whatever. I’m big on onomatopoeia. Oinks and moos and splats and all those words that kind of bring to mind the subject matter.
Susan: I think horripilation is cute, too. That’s the goose bumps one. And flibbertigibbet [a friend who loves to talk and talk]. You always know somebody who is one of those.
What did you read to your son when he was little?
James: When Jack was little he wasn’t a big reader. The summer he was 8, Sue and I said, “You’re going to read every day this summer.” He said, “Do I have to?” We said, “Yeah, unless you want to live in the garage. But, we’re going to go out and get cool books for you.” We went out and got about a dozen books for Jack. They ranged from “Percy Jackson” to . . . “A Wrinkle in Time.” He’s at an Ivy League college now. He got an 800 on the SAT reading.
How was it collaborating on a book as husband and wife?
Susan: We had a lot of fun with it. We spent a lot of time together.
James: We’re getting divorced. [Laughs.]
Do you think kids will actually incorporate these big words into their vocabularies?
James: I bet they’ll go to school and say, “Do you know what this word means?” It’s like a little badge of honor when they learn a couple of words.
You’ve started your own imprint aimed at kids, called Jimmy Patterson books, and have written middle grade and young adult books in addition to the children’s picture books. How is writing books for kids different from writing books for adults?
James: That’s my passion now, doing the kids’ books. . . . “Pottymouth and Stoopid” I think is a terrific book — that’s a middle school book that’s out right now. It’s about word bullying as opposed to physical bullying. And it’s very humorous, believe it or not. [With] the kids’ books you can be a lot more humorous.
For parents and fans
“This is mostly going to be adults,” James Patterson says of his Book Revue presentation. “I will talk about my other books there. ‘Alex Cross,’ ‘Women’s Murder Club.’ I’ll talk about whatever people want to talk about. The stories and the anecdotes; we’ll have fun. TV Stuff, the Clinton book, which is coming up, my collaboration with Bill Clinton. It’s a novel, it’s a thriller. It’s called ‘The President Is Missing.’ A president is being impeached and suddenly disappears. We’ve got a TV show coming, two actually in January. One with Alan Cumming on CBS [called ‘Instinct’] and then we’re going to do something on Discovery, called ‘Murder is Forever.’ ”
— BETH WHITEHOUSE
WHAT Talk with James and Sue Patterson
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO Free; the Pattersons will only be signing “Big Words for Little Geniuses” (Jimmy Patterson, $17.99) and “The Store” (Little, Brown, $27) purchased at Book Revue; 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com