Reiser, Lynn 1944- (Lynn Whisnant Reiser)

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Reiser, Lynn 1944- (Lynn Whisnant Reiser)


Born July 28, 1944, in Charlotte, NC; daughter of Ward William (a businessman) and Susan Richardson (a college professor) 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.


Office—Department of Psychiatry, Yale Medical School, 25 Park St., New Haven, CT 06511.


Educator and author. 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, beginning 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; Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute, member of clinic committee, 1988—, faculty, 1991—, and board of trustees, 1993—. 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 at Yale University.


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; Child Study Children's Book Committee List of Children's Books of the Year, 1991, for Dog and Cat; Picture Book Honor Book, Parent's Choice Award, 1992, for Any Kind of Dog; Nancy C.A. Roeske, M.D., Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education, American Psychiatric Association, 1992.



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.

Two Dogs Swimming, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2005.

Hardworking Puppies, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

You and Me, Baby, photographs by Penny Gentieu, Knopf (New York, NY), 2006.

Play Ball with Me!, Knopf (New York, NY), 2006.

My Way/A mi manera, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2007.


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 annually since 1972. Author, as Lynn Whisnant Reiser, of medical and professional articles on psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and medical education.


Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret was adapted for audiocassette, read by Chloe Patellis, with music by Jeff Wasman, Scholastic, 1993. Any Kind of Dog was adapted for audiocassette, Live Oak Media, 1996.


A respected psychiatrist and educator, Lynn Reiser is also a prolific author of children's picture books. In addition to her work at Yale University School of Medicine, where she is a clinical professor of psychiatry and active in numerous departmental activities, Reiser has managed to find the time to both write and illustrate an average of two children's books per year since beginning to write in the early 1990s. As one might expect of a person in Reiser's field, some of her books focus on the interpersonal relationships most important to young children: those among family and friends, as brought to life in her collaborative photo essay with Peggy Gentieu, You and Me, Baby. Reiser also shares her love of animals in many of her works, such as Dog and Cat, Hardworking Puppies, and Two Dogs Swimming. Reiser is an illustrator as well as an author, and she varies her artistic medium from simple line drawings to watercolor paintings to photograph/painting hybrids. Her illustrations reflect the maturity of her intended audience, whether it be a toddler or a grade-school student.

In her first published book for children, Dog and Cat, Reiser depicts the meeting of a restless dog and his neighbor, a drowsy cat. The dog gets more than he bargains for when he heeds his instinct and chases the cat. The cat jumps on the pup's back and, with a trick, teaches the hapless canine a lesson he is unlikely to forget. Reiser "deftly presents this bustling confrontation in a cheerful style," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. In Horn Book Mary M. Burns noted the author/illustrator's emphasis on "shape and movement," adding that the book's illustrations are sure to "attract the attention" of young readers. School Library Journal contributor Joan McGrath described Dog and Cat as a picture book "enlivened by wild and woolly artwork" which reflects the cat-dog synergy.

Reiser's other animals stories include Bedtime Cat, which describes the nightly ritual of a young girl and her cat, and Any Kind of Dog, which focuses on the love many people have for dogs, no matter what the breed. All goes well in Bedtime Cat until bedtime, when the cat, who usually sleeps with the little girl, cannot be found. The anxiety builds as the girl and her parents search for the cat, without success. The child returns to her bed, only to find the cat under a blanket, ready and waiting for lights out all along. Reviewers of the book cited the appealing text and pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, Carolyn K. Jenks remarking in Horn Book that "the simple, childlike pictures and text are just right for this small but universal drama." A Kirkus Reviews writer credited Bedtime Cat with "real sensitivity to the child's world," remarking on the sense of security it evokes in its recitation of the child's nighttime routine. Similarly, Liza Bliss commended Reiser's simplified artwork, dubbing it "just right" in her School Library Journal review.

In Any Kind of Dog Richard begs his mom for a dog. When a series of substitute pets are suggested, none satisfy the boy; instead they remind him of the many different dog breeds. In Reiser's humorous tale, after each alternative pet—both real and imaginary—is determined to cause its own brand of trouble, Richard's mom gives in. The "boldly colored pictures filled with funny details embellish the text nicely," wrote Anna Biagioni Hart in School Library Journal, while a Kirkus Reviews critic called the art "unpretentious but amusingly expressive." 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. Another interactive book, Play Ball with Me!, features a frisky kitten whose toys and sports accouterments are visible through die-cut pages.

Counting and differences are explored in the concept books Ten Puppies and Ten Hardworking Puppies. In Ten Puppies Reiser illustrates basic addition by grouping ten dogs, some sharing similar characteristics, such as coat color, floppy ears, and pink tongues. Noting that the dogs' "clearly differentiated characteristics offer all kinds of opportunities for observation and the exercise of logic," Horn Book contributor Joanna Rudge Long concluded of Ten Puppies that "there's much here to discover, … learn, and enjoy." A similar focus is employed in Ten Hardworking Puppies, as Reiser follows ten unique dogs as they match their skills with jobs ranging from firehouse dog to water-rescue puppy to beloved family pet. Counting and subtraction are the concepts explored in Reiser's simple text and engaging art. Noting that the book "successfully" meets its intended goal, Roger Sutton added in Horn Book that Ten Hardworking Puppies "honors both the puppies and the [young] audience, who will know about being small but craving responsibility. "Even if kids aren't ready for the arithmetic concepts, they'll coo over the wriggling pups" and the "underlying messages" about praising a job well done and "balancing work and play," predicted Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson.

Relationship books form an important part of Reiser's oeuvre. In The Surprise Family she describes how a chick is cared for by a human boy, grows up, then adopts a clutch of ducklings in turn. Although the plot has particular appeal for adoptive families, Reiser's theme is universal: Love transcends boundaries and labels. School Library Journal reviewer Beth Tegart praised The Surprise Family as a "delightful story," and Booklist critic Mary Harris Veeder dubbed it a "graceful fable" that is "well served by" the author's signature illustrations. The same caring bond is the focus of You and Me, Baby, in which Reiser collaborates with photographer Gentieu in creating a simple book that School Library Journal contributor Catherine Callegari deemed "engaging." Noting the effective repetitive text, a Kirkus Reviews writer wrote that author and illustrator focus on "the bond that forms between baby and caregiver as they imitate each other, the simplest form of communication."

Reiser further simplifies her artwork in Best Friends Think Alike, which features line drawings of red and blue marker, each color representing the thoughts of best friends Beryl (blue) and Ruby (red). Describing the technique in Booklist, Susan Dove Lempke dubbed it "ingenious." During a play date, both Beryl and Ruby want to be the horse in their game of horse and rider; the negotiation and resolution that follow is one that, according to Sutton, preschoolers "should appreciate." The boundaries of language can also be overcome for the sake of friendship, as Reiser illustrates in Margaret and Margarita/Margarita y Margaret. In this bilingual story two children visit the park with their mothers, their budding friendship told in mirror images, the English text in red ink, and the Spanish text in blue. As the girls cement their friendship, the text merges over the double-page spread.

Reiser has made bilingual children's books an increasing focus as her writing career has progressed, and she honors cultural traditions as well as exploring expressions of affection in several of these works. In The Lost Ball/La pelota perdida two boys play ball with their respective dogs, until their balls become switched, leading each boy to a new friend. Cherry Pies and Lullabies shares a focus with its Spanish-English analog, Tortillas and Lullabies: Tortillas y cancioncitas, in depicting generations of women showing their affection for their families through cooking and caretaking. Readers can see that, over time, while everyday tasks may change, the love behind these efforts remains. Although Horn Book reviewer Sutton maintained that the author's artwork for Cherry Pies and Lullabies lack "emotional resonance," Mirta Ojito praised them in the New York Times Book Review, citing the author/illustrator's "gorgeous" and "exquisitely detailed full-page illustrations." Impressed by a Peace Corps exhibit of work by Costa Rican artists cooperative Valiant Hearts (Corazones Valientes), Reiser asked this group to illustrate Tortillas and Lullabies with their colorful, stylized paintings.

Reiser gives young armchair travelers the opportunity to enjoy nature in several of her books. 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. The story's text "aptly portrays the eagerness of the girl," wrote Booklist reviewer Christie Sylvester, while in School Library Journal Susan Hepler remarked that "Reiser's precise watercolor and black line illustrations

clarify details and evoke emotions." Reiser also brings the seashore home with Beach Feet, which focuses on sea creatures with different kinds of feet, and Little Clam, which concerns the clam' self-defense mechanisms.

Nature is celebrated by Reiser in 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 a play titled Earthdance, while Terra's astronaut mother takes to the skies. Although Booklist contributor Susan Dove Lempke noted errors in the scientific content, a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed Earthdance "charming." Finding the work successful over all, Tina Hudak praised Reiser's "imaginative approach" in her School Library Journal review.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, May 1, 1992, Denia Hester, review of Any Kind 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; June 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Hardworking Puppies, p. 88.

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, Joanna Rudge Long, reviews of My Dog Truffle and My Cat Tuna, p. 201; May-June, 2003, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Ten Puppies, p. 335; May-June, 2006, Roger Sutton, review of Hardworking Puppies, p. 301.

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; March 15, 2003, review of Ten Puppies, p. 476; April 15, 2005, review of Two Dogs Swimming, p. 480; May 1, 2006, review of Hardworking Puppies, p. 466; September 15, 2006, review of You and Me, Baby, p. 965.

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/Tortillas y cancioncitas, 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; May 26, 2003, review of Ten Puppies, p. 72.

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; May, 1997, Marianne Saccardi, review of Best Friends Think Alike, pp. 111-112; April, 1998, Denise E. Agosto, review of Tortillas and Lullabies/Tortillas y cancioncitas, 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; November, 2002, Ann Welton, review of The Lost Ball/ La Peolta Perdida, p. 153; April, 2003, Andrea Tarr, review of Ten Puppies, p. 137; May, 2005, Kathleen Meulen, review of Two Dogs Swimming, p. 94; April, 2006, Linda Zeilstra Sawyer, review of Hardworking Puppies, p. 116; August, 2006, Linda Ludke, review of Play Ball with Me!, p. 110; October, 2006, Catherine Callegari, review of You and Me, Baby, p. 124.

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.