On Saturday, December 5, from 9-10, best-selling author Alyssa Capucilli will be at Wainwright House to host “Tea & Tales,” a special event for children 3 and up and their parents.
By Maureen Mancini Amaturo
On Saturday, December 5, from 9-10, best-selling author Alyssa Capucilli will be at Wainwright House to host “Tea & Tales,” a special event for children 3 and up and their parents. Capucilli, creator of Biscuit, the adventurous puppy who has become one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature, will read several stories and autograph books. Guests will enjoy light breakfast treats, too.
Alyssa Capucilli was a professional dancer, though she always loved writing. “Dancing is really just another way to tell a story,” she says. Lucky for us, she was inspired by a neighbor’s pet to create Biscuit. “My daughter was babysitting for our neighbor’s huge and rambunctious dog. When he wouldn’t settle down, she brought him a blanket, a doll, and spoke to him in such a gentle and patient tone. It was as if she thought he understood every word she was saying. I loved their “conversation.” It truly inspired the very first story about Biscuit.”
That was almost 20 years ago. The first Biscuit book was published in 1996, so the pup has a big birthday coming up this spring. Today, there are over 50 titles, almost 21 million Biscuit books sold, and Biscuit has friends around the world since the stories have been translated into many languages – Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Korean, Chinese, and Hebrew, to name a few. “I always tell my readers that I hope to write to infinity and beyond.” She’s well on her way. Capucilli publishes one “My First I Can Read” adventure every year. Coming this spring, “Biscuit Feeds The Pets.”
Why do so many fall in love with Biscuit? “I think every child would have their own answer for that,” the author says. “I imagine they recognize a little bit of themselves in Biscuit. He is funny, silly, curious, mischievous, loving… Biscuit has also given many children a warm and fun entry into reading independently. That is very empowering. As a young reader, the bond between Biscuit and the little girl would probably have kept me most engaged. There’s nothing like having a puppy follow at your heels!” Capucilli has created several other characters and stories. “Katy Duck is a character drawn from my dancing life. She is spunky but sensitive and has a huge imagination! A newer title is “Not This Bear,” just right for someone beginning school. Tulip and Rex are another child/dog duo. In their latest adventure, “Tulip and Rex Write a Story,” the seeds of storytelling and writing are introduced to our youngest writers.”
Biscuit touches a wide audience. “I hear from many teenagers and Biscuit graduates when I am at book festivals that Biscuit was the first book they learned to read all by themselves. I’ve received so many generous letters and pictures that share readers’ experiences – some are struggling readers, some have helped their parents learn to read. A first grader recently asked how I get inside the head of a puppy to create my work. That was such a sophisticated comment.” Capucilli says, “Most memorable is that Biscuit has held a place in so many readers’ lives.” Did Alyssa expect Biscuit to become famous? “Not at all – it is truly, truly humbling. I can say that with all honesty.”
Register now by calling 967-6080 or visiting wainwright.org/events. Tickets are $5 per child, $8 per adult.
And stay for Dickens of a Weekend festivities, which begin at 10.