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Jamie Lee Curtis, on her unexpected path to children's author: 'I never planned on writing a book'

April 30, 2011 |  3:30 pm

JLC Photo 

"What do mommies do?" Actress and children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis asked her mostly miniature-sized fans that question Saturday from the Target Stage at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. "Everything," a mother loudly replied above the cacophony of children.

Curtis, who is a mom, couldn't agree more. Reading from "My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story," the latest of 10 children’s books she has written, she paid tribute to what she called "the most important relationship you have in your life." Then she added: "And if you do it right, it ends in separation."

Curtis delighted her young audience by describing the book's narrator as a "little boy who loves his mommy and even though he’s 4 or 5, this little boy still thinks his mommy did everything." Coming across an excerpt about teaching a child to burp, Curtis paused and and asked a nearby photographer to demonstrate into the microphone -- drawing giggles from the children and good-natured groans from their parents. 

But there was a more sobering side to what she said was an unexpected writing career. "I never planned on writing a book. I barely graduated from high school. I am a poster child for the underachiever." She said that her first children’s book, published 18 years ago, was motivated by the antics of her then 4-year-old daughter, inspiration that continues to come from real-life experiences. "You can achieve anything if you open your mind to the ideas that come to you from anywhere," she said.

And then it was back to the silly stuff. Curtis followed the entertaining Mallory Lewis, Shari Lewis’ daughter, with the much-loved puppet Lamb Chop. Not to be outdone, Curtis did her best impersonation of the shrieks and wails of a finicky baby. She finished to applause and, throwing a victorious arm into the air, exclaimed, “Take that, Lamb Chop!”

-- Dima Alzayat

Photo: Jamie Lee Curtis at the Target Children's Stage on Saturday.

Photo credit: Dima Alzayat