Amy’s Books & Writing

See Portland Stage’s Version of “Little Beaver & the Echo” through May 16

If you missed Portland Stage’s live (online) production of their “Play Me a Story” version of Little Beaver, you have until May 16 to find it in video form here.

This is  delightful rendition, with creative use of the illustrations, that will get kids off the couch and actively involved. It seems to me a perfect way to spend a half hour, for kids in need of diversion and entertainment (and let’s face it, that’s just about everyone now).

Many thanks to the cast and crew who put this together. And be sure to catch the rest of their Play Me A Story shows, every Saturday morning at 10:30 live online; or in their video archive.cropped-am-wed-header-lbe.jpg

And for videos of me reading some of my favorite books aloud, check out my Tea and Story Time with Amy series:

Episode #1 (“Rachel Fister’s Blister”)    #2 (“Cousin Ruth’s Tooth”),   #3 (“Quentin Fenton Herter III) , and #4 (“Little Beaver and the Echo”).


Categories: Amy's Books & Writing, Children's Literature, Video | 1 Comment

“Storytime with Tea & Amy #4: Little Beaver and the Echo”

Snuggle up with your favorite stuffed animal, share a cup of chamomile tea with Amy, and listen as she reads one of her best-loved books, Little Beaver and the Echo.

This time, something different: original music, and a new setting.

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Coronavirus Resource for Kids, Parents, Teachers: “Storytime with Tea & Amy”

Video thumbnail: Storytime with Tea #1: Rachel Fister's Blister, read by the authorDear Friends,

In response to COVID19, I’m making videos of me reading my children’s books available online for parents and teachers who are looking for ways to keep kids entertained and engaged with books while we’re all stuck indoors.

“Storytime with Tea and Amy” is designed to create a comfortable safe place where young children are encouraged to “share” a cup of tea while snuggling with a stuffed animal friend.

The first three episodes are now on YouTube. Feel free  to share them with:

  • kids needing a respite from the troubling world of the Corona Virus,
  • teachers looking for educational & entertaining online content for distance teaching,
  • or parents simply needing a quick breather of their own when children are cooped up all day at home.

Episode #1 (“Rachel Fister’s Blister”) is available now, as well as  #2 (“Cousin Ruth’s Tooth”), and #3 (“Quentin Fenton Herter III) , and #4 (“Little Beaver and the Echo”).

I hope this might help just a tiny bit to get through this difficult and scary time for kids.

Stay well,




Categories: Amy's Books & Writing, Children's Literature, Video | 4 Comments

Musical Setting of Little Beaver


Here’s a short video of me reading Little Beaver and the Echo to a musical setting composed by Bill Trevaskis and performed by pianist Lois Shapiro at Waterman’s Community Center on North Haven Island (Maine).

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Tooth Sleuth!


The Princeton University Cotsen Children’s Library has come up with a great activity around losing a tooth, inspired by Cousin Ruth’s Tooth. Thanks to everyone who dreamed this up and put it on their creative blog! Click here for instructions.

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The Way a Crow


shook down on me

a dust of snow

from a hemlock tree

has given my heart

a change of mood

and saved some part

of a day I had rued. 

              –Robert Frost

This poem popped into my head one day when I’d gone skiing through a hemlock forest after a really bad morning. And it really and truly did give my heart a change of mood. Thank you, Robert Frost.

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Kennedy’s Death: The Day Before

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in an event at Symphony Space in New York called “Nov. 21: The Day Before” which asked artists to create work around the idea of the day BEFORE Kennedy’s assassination.  Here’s the short essay I wrote, from the perspective of the 12-year-old I then was. (NY Times review of event.)

The photo is of me with two other artists who participated in the event: Sabrina Small (center) who created artwork to accompany my reading; and Mimi Herman, poet.


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Why Read Fiction?

 “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” –William Carlos Williams

In  a hard economic world, where classrooms at every level seem increasingly designed to be vocational training grounds and little else, where the three RRR’s (which included reading and writing) are being replaced by the hot new acronym STEM, where the new Common Core language arts standards insist on a shift away from fiction into non-fiction (and by non-fiction they include maps, and menus and manuals), in a world where the man who spearheaded the Common Core notes that employers are not apt to ask someone to produce a “compelling account of his childhood” before tackling that market analysis…In such a world, why should fiction be a part of a child’s education?

Because fiction, as William Carlos Williams notes, provides life-giving sustenance:

It can be a friend when we’re lonely, a refuge when we’re overwhelmed. And children are often lonely and often overwhelmed.

It supplies the pleasure of recognition—wow, someone put my own thoughts into words—as well as wonder at the new: who knew?

It takes us inside ourselves. It takes us outside ourselves.

It makes us explore, as nothing else can, the most intriguing question of all: What if?

It makes the strange familiar—we don’t ever have to have lived on a farm to know exactly what Wilbur and Charlotte’s barn looks and feels and smells like.

And it makes the familiar strange: a boy’s bedroom becomes a kingdom of wild things.

It makes us stretch our minds and use our imagination and ask uncomfortable questions. It comforts, inspires and reassures. It scares and stimulates.

Absolutely, it’s important to be able to read maps, and menus, and manuals. And market analyses. It’s also important to be able to journey to where the wild things are, and back home again.

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Email of the Week

224028-LDear Amy

My husband Jim was curious where you learned the math trick that Aunt Mattie and Uncle Philbert talk about in the book [No More Nasty, p. 91]?  Do you know if it has an official name?  He was curious how the 3-digit method works.  My husband is good with numbers and my daughter was amazed that she could put the numbers in the calculator as quickly as her dad could solve them on paper using this new method.  Any information would be appreciated.

Thank you, Kim

Dear Kim,

The official name is “Multi-Qwik, Uncle Philbert’s Patented Homework Reducing Time Saving Three Step Multiple Digit Multiplication Method.” Really. It was invented by a friend of mine when he was in grade school, and it really does work. He figured out that he could do his math homework quicker that way, and he actually DID get in trouble with his teacher for doing his math this way, instead of how the book said to do it.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. And it really is patented.
 Amy MacDonald
P.S. Click here for Classroom Activities related to the Multi-Qwik math trick.

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Nice Review of “Big Front Tooth”

Review of “LIttle Beaver and the Big Front Tooth”

In the Daily Mail (gulp). Huge circulation but not my favorite newspaper.

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