Reiser, Lynn (Whisnant) 1944-
REISER, Lynn (Whisnant) 1944-
PERSONAL: Born July 28, 1944, in Charlotte, NC; daughter of Ward William (a businessman) and Susan Richardson (a college professor; maiden name, Carpenter) Whisnant; married Morton F. Reiser (a physician, professor, psychoanalyst, and author), December 19, 1976. Education: Duke University, B.S., 1966; Yale Medical School, M.D., 1970, psychiatric residency, 1970-75; Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic training, 1976-85. Hobbies and other interests: Watercolor painting, gardening, cats and dogs, nature.
ADDRESSES: Home—99 Blake Rd., Hamden, CT 06517. Office—Department of Psychiatry, Yale Medical School, 25 Park St., New Haven, CT 06511.
CAREER: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, assistant clinical professor, 1975-84, associate clinical professor, 1984-94, clinical professor, 1994—, director of undergraduate education in psychiatry, 1985—. Private practice in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, 1975—; author and illustrator of children's books, 1991—. Research fellow under Dr. Myrna Weissman, Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health, 1976-77; member of clinic committee, 1988—, faculty, 1991—, and board of trustees, 1993—, Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute; member, Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies at Aspen, 1992—, and at Princeton, 1993—. Member, Muriel Gardiner Program in Psychoanalysis and the Humanities, and fellow, Davenport College, both Yale University.
MEMBER: International Psychoanalytic Association, American Psychiatric Association (fellow, 1986), American Psychoanalytic Association, American College of Psychoanalysts (fellow, 1990; board of regents, 1992—), Association of Academic Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (examiner, 1980—), Western New England Psychoanalytic Society (treasurer, 1989-91), Sigma Xi.
AWARDS, HONORS: Peter Parker Research fellowship, 1968; Connecticut Heart Association Research Award, 1968; Falk Fellowship, American Psychiatric Association, 1972-74; Lustman Research Prize, Yale University Department of Psychiatry, 1974; Dog and Cat was selected for the Child Study Children's Book Committee List of Children's Books of the Year, 1991; Any Kind of Dog was selected as Picture Book Honor Book, Parent's Choice Award, 1992; Nancy C. A. Roeske, M.D., Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education, American Psychiatric Association, 1992.
PICTURE BOOKS; SELF-ILLUSTRATED, EXCEPT AS NOTED
Dog and Cat, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1991.
Bedtime Cat, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1991.
Any Kind of Dog, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.
Christmas Counting, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.
Tomorrow on Rocky Pond, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.
Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.
The Surprise Family, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.
Two Mice in Three Fables, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.
Night Thunder and the Queen of the Wild Horses, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.
Beach Feet, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.
Best Friends Think Alike, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.
Cherry Pies and Lullabies, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.
(With translator Rebecca Hart) Tortillas and Lullabies/Tortillas y Cancioncitas, illustrated by Corazones Valientes, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.
Little Clam, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.
Earthdance, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.
My Dog Truffle, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.
My Cat Tuna: A Book about the Five Senses, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.
(With M. J. Infante) The Lost Ball/La Pelota Perdida, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2002.
Ten Puppies, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.
Also contributor of "Two Mice," to First Grade Reading Program, D. C. Heath, 1994. Illustrator of Making Yourself at Home in Charlotte, North Carolina, by Susan Whisnant, published yearly since 1972. Author, as Lynn Whisnant Reiser, of medical and professional articles on psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and medical education.
ADAPTATIONS: Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret was adapted for audio cassette, read by Chloë Patellis, with music by Jeff Wasman, Scholastic, 1993, and Any Kind of Dog was adapted for audio cassette, Live Oak Media, 1996.
SIDELIGHTS: A respected psychiatrist and educator, Lynn Reiser is also a prolific author and illustrator of children's picture books, averaging two books a year for over a decade. As one might expect of a person in her medical line of work, among her titles are books that treat relationships among family and friends, but she has also published animal tales and celebrations of nature. Her illustrations, varying in complexity from simple line drawings to watercolor paintings and photograph-painting hybrids, reflect the maturity of her intended audience, which ranges from toddlers to grade-school students.
In her first published effort, Dog and Cat, Reiser portrays the meeting of a restless dog and his neighbor, a drowsy cat. The dog gets more than he bargained for when he heeds his instinct and chases the cat. The cat jumps on him, and with a trick teaches the dog a scary lesson he's unlikely to forget. Reiser "deftly presents this bustling confrontation in a cheerful style," to quote a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Among other enthusiasts of Reiser's debut were Horn Book reviewer Mary M. Burns, who noted the emphasis on "shape and movement" in the illustrations, which, the reviewer added, are sure to "attract the attention" of young readers. School Library Journal contributor Joan McGrath found the story "enlivened by wild and woolly artwork" that reflects the cat-dog synergy.
Reiser followed Dog and Cat with a number of other animals stories, including Bedtime Cat, about a young girl and her cat's nightly routine, and Any Kind of Dog, about that frequently desired pet. All goes well in Dog and Cat until bedtime, when the cat, who sleeps with a girl, disappears. While the anxiety builds, the girl and her parents search for the cat without success. The girl returns to her bed, only to find the cat under a blanket, right where it has been all along. Reviewers noted the work's child appeal in its text and pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations: "The simple, childlike pictures and text are just right for this small but universal drama," remarked Carolyn K. Jenks in Horn Book, and a Kirkus Reviews writer credited the book with "real sensitivity to the child's world," and remarked on the sense of security it evoked in its recitation of the girl's routine. Similarly, Liza Bliss commended the book's simplified artwork, calling it "just right" in her School Library Journal review.
In Any Kind of Dog Richard begs his mother for a dog. She refuses but instead presents Richard with a series of substitute pets, which do not satisfy the boy, reminding him instead of different dog breeds. When each of these other pets (both real and imaginary) causes its own brand of trouble, Richard's mother gives in, and he gets his dog. Again, reviewers found the illustrations apt; yet they noted the book's humor as well. According to a Kirkus Reviews critic, the art is "unpretentious but amusingly expressive." The "boldly colored pictures filled with funny details embellish the text nicely," to quote Anna Biagioni Hart in School Library Journal. Both School Library Journal reviewer Fritz Mitnick and a Publishers Weekly reviewer pointed out that the repetitive text has toddler appeal. Other dog-cat books for the pre-reader include Reiser's lift-the-flap books My Cat Tuna: A Book about the Five Senses and My Dog Truffle, both of which treat the same topic, and Ten Puppies.
Relationship books form an important part of Reiser's oeuvre. In The Surprise Family Reiser tells how when a chick that has been raised by a boy grows up, she in turn raises a clutch of ducklings. Although the plot could appeal particularly to adoptive families, the theme is universal: Love transcends boundaries and labels. School Library Journal reviewer Beth Tegart praised the work as a "delightful story," and Booklist critic Mary Harris Veeder dubbed it a "graceful fable" that is "well served by" Reiser's signature illustrations. Reiser further simplified her artwork in Best Friends Think Alike. She drew line drawings in red and blue marker, each color representing the thoughts of one friend, a technique that Susan Dove Lempke described in Booklist as "ingenious." While the thoughts of Ruby are pictured in red, her best friend Beryl's thoughts are pictured in blue; unfortunately at their upcoming play date, they both want to be the horse in their game of horse and rider. A negotiation and resolution follow that preschoolers, according to Roger Sutton in HornBook, "should appreciate." Even boundaries of language can be overcome for the sake of friendship, according to Reiser's Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret. About two young girls who visit the park with their mothers, the tale is told in mirror images. On each left page the text is in English in red ink, while on the right it is in Spanish in blue ink. By the end of the story, however, the girls have become friends and the text merges over the doublepage spread. Such a work could be judged on its merits as a story and as a means of teaching Spanish.
The author continues to explore expressions of affection, including traditions passed down from generation to generation, in her more recent books. In 1998 she published Cherry Pies and Lullabies and its Spanish-English analog, Tortillas and Lullabies. In each, generations of women show their affection for each other by making the food item of the title and doing other necessary tasks. Readers see that, over time, some details of life change, but not the love behind the efforts, and the simple and repetitive text reflects the unchanging nature of love. Reiser illustrated Cherry Pies and Lullabies with her own cartoon-like, pen-and-watercolor illustrations. Although Horn Book reviewer Roger Sutton believed the illustrations "resist emotional resonance," Mirta Ojito praised them in the New York Times Book Review, describing them as "gorgeous pictures" and "exquisitely detailed full-page illustrations." However, after seeing a Peace Corps exhibit of work by "Valiant Hearts (Corazones Valientes)," a Costa Rican cooperative, Reiser opted to have this group illustrate Tortillas and Lullabies with colorful paintings stylized in a Hispanic fashion. In this version, Reiser shows different activities being passed down from generation to generation, activities that reflect life in rural Central or South America rather than that of Caucasians or Hispanics in the United States. Because of this, Ojito suggested that Reiser was supporting the erroneous stereotype that modern Hispanic mothers fulfill more traditional women's roles than do American women of other ethnicities.
In a number of books, Reiser gives readers the opportunity to enjoy nature vicariously. In Tomorrow on Rocky Pond she explores a young girl's anticipation on the eve of a family vacation, when the family will fish at Rocky Pond. This ritual includes a special breakfast, clothes, the journey to the pond, and finally the fishing. Text and artwork work well together, several reviewers noted. The text "aptly portrays the eagerness of the girl," wrote Booklist reviewer Christie Sylvester, while in School Library Journal Susan Hepler remarked, "Reiser's precise watercolor and black line illustrations clarify details and evoke emotions." With Beach Feet, which is about various sea creatures with different kinds of feet, and Little Clam, which concerns the clam' self-defense mechanisms, Reiser brings the ocean home.
Reiser continues her celebration of nature in a larger context with Earthdance, a lyrical introduction to the solar system. In verse and illustrations that combine drawings and photographs of earth as seen from outer space, she tells of how a girl named Terra dances the lead role in the school production of "Earthdance," while her astronaut mother takes to the skies. Reviewers pointed out the work's strong and weak points. Although Booklist's Susan Dove Lempke and a Kirkus Reviews critic noted errors in the scientific content, the latter critic called the picture book "charming." Finding the work successful over all, Tina Hudak praised Reiser's "imaginative approach" in School Library Journal.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 1992, Denia Hester, review of AnyKind of Dog, pp. 1609-1610; August, 1993, Christie Sylvester, review of Tomorrow on Rocky Pond, p. 2071; September 15, 1993, Janice Del Negro, review of Margarita y Margaret/Margaret and Margarita, p. 160; June 1, 1994, Mary Harris Veeder, review of The Surprise Family, p. 1844; March 1, 1995; Lauren Peterson, review of Two Mice in Three Fables, p. 1249; October 15, 1995, Kay Weisman, review of Night Thunder and the Queen of the Wild Horses, p. 90; June 1, 1997, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Best Friends Think Alike, p. 1721; March 1, 1998, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Cherry Pies and Lullabies, p. 1141; April, 1998, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Tortillas and Lullabies/Tortillas y Cancioncitas, p. 1333; August, 1998, John Peters, review of Little Clam, p. 2016; December 1, 1999, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Earthdance, p. 713.
Horn Book, May-June, 1991, Carolyn K. Jenks, review of Bedtime Cat, p. 321, Mary M. Burns, review of Dog and Cat, p. 321; September-October, 1993; March-April, 1997, Roger Sutton, review of Best Friends Think Alike, pp. 194-195; May, 1998, Roger Sutton, review of Cherry Pies and Lullabies, pp. 335-336; September-October, 1998, Susan P. Bloom, review of Little Clam, pp. 599-600; March, 2001, J.R.L., reviews of My Dog Truffle and My Cat Tuna, p. 201.
Horn Book Guide, fall, 1996, Suzy Schmidt, review of Beach Feet, p. 272; fall, 2001, Joanna Rudge Long, reviews of My Cat Tuna and My Dog Truffle, p. 239.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1992, review of Any Kind of Dog; February 15, 1992, review of Bedtime Cat, p. 251; June 1, 1994; April 1, 1998, review of Cherry Pies and Lullabies, p. 500, and review of Tortillas and Lullabies/Tortillas y Cancioncitas, p. 501; July 15, 1999, review of Earthdance, p. 1138.
Language Arts, November, 1996, Miriam Martinez and Marcia Nash, review of Beach Feet, p. 522.
New York Times Book Review, September 20, 1998, Mirta Ojito, reviews of Cherry Pies and Lullabies and Tortillas and Lullabies, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, January 18, 1991, review of Dog and Cat, p. 57; March 9, 1992, review of Any Kind of Dog, p. 56; September 7, 1992, Elizabeth Devereaux, review of Christmas Counting, p. 67; May 31, 1993, review of Tomorrow on Rocky Pond, p. 53; September 25, 1995, review of Night Thunder and the Queen of the Wild Horses, p. 56; February 2, 1998, review of Cherry Pies and Lullabies, p. 90; September 14, 1998, review of Little Clam, p. 68; January 22, 2001, "Experience the Seasons," p. 326.
School Library Journal, May, 1991, Liza Bliss, review of Bedtime Cat, p. 82; June, 1991, Joan McGrath, review of Dog and Cat, pp. 88-89; June, 1992, Anna Biagioni Hart, review of Any Kind of Dog, p. 102; October, 1992; September, 1993, Susan Hepler, review of Tomorrow on Rocky Pond, p. 218; July, 1994, Beth Tegart, review of The Surprise Family, pp. 87-88; August, 1994, Rose Zertuche Trevino, review of Margarita y Margaret, p. 182; April, 1995, Jane Marino, review of Two Mice in Three Fables, pp. 114, 116; December, 1995, Meg Stackpole, review of Night Thunder and the Queen of the Wild Horses, p. 90; February, 1997, Fritz Mitnick, review of Any Kind of Dog (audio version), p. 70; May, 1997, Marianne Saccardi, review of Best Friends Think Alike, pp. 111-112; April, 1998, Denise E. Agosto, review of Tortillas and Lullabies, p. 108; September, 1998, Lisa S. Murphy, review of Cherry Pies and Lullabies, p. 180; November 1, 1998, Shelley Woods, review of Little Clam, p. 92; October, 1999, Tina Hudak, review of Earthdance, p. 123; March, 2001, DeAnn Tabuchi, reviews of My Cat Tuna and My Dog Truffle, p. 219.
Science Books and Films, December, 1996, Frank M. Truesdale, review of Beach Feet, p. 275.
Teaching Children Mathematics, David J. Whitin, review of Beach Feet, p. 294.*