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Best Local Author with a One-of-a-Kind Talent

WAY OUT IN THE MYSTERIOUS LAND of Sebastopol there lives a magical woman named Marsha Diane Arnold. Known to many children of the land, Arnold is a magician of literary innovations, which is to say that she is a writer. One of her books is the award-winning Heart of a Tiger, written in 1995. Others are The Chicken Salad Club and The Pumpkin Runner, both published last year. These are very good books. In fact, they are exceptional. Just ask any kid. Marvelously illustrated by some of the industry's best artists, Arnold's stories are funny, and exciting, and, well ... they make you feel stuff. What's especially wonderful about her books is their underlying attitude of affection and respect for older people, be they our great-grandparents or athletic pumpkin farmers. In The Chicken Salad Club, a young boy tries to find a storytelling equal for his loquacious 100-year-old great grandpa. The Pumpkin Runner, based on a true story from Australia, tells us (in hilarious, tall-tale terms) of good-natured pumpkin farmer Cliff Young, who in 1983, at the age of 67, won a foot race that took him from Sydney to Melbourne. Even Heart of a Tiger, the author's first book, encourages a healthy respect for our elders, as a gray kitten name Little Four seeks important advice from the older, wiser Magnificent Bengal Tiger. In an increasingly youth-oriented society, it is good to see such loving high regard being paid to the "older and wiser" among us. We can't wait to see what Arnold gives us next. --D.T.

From the March 25-31, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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