April 27


And the correct answer is…? by Molly Idle

The other day, in our workshop, my Dad asked my son, John, a question. 
A question to which John, did not know the answer… but he was trying his best to fake it.
“John,” said my Dad, “do you know the answer?”

“Well…“ John replied.
“If you don’t know the answer to a question,” my Dad cut across, “then the correct answer is: I don’t know.”
John blinked.
“Do you know who taught me that?” asked my Dad. “Lester Taylor, my math and chemistry teacher at Winslow High School. He called on me one day to answer a question. And I stood up and started to ramble on- just like you are now- and Mr. Taylor stopped me and said…”
Do you know the answer?”
“Well… “ my young Dad replied.
“If you don’t know the answer to a question,” Mr. Taylor cut across, “then the correct answer is: I don’t know. Then, you should sit down, close your mouth, and open your ears… and listen… because someone else just might know the right answer, and you just might learn something.
John looked at my Dad and blinked; his brow furrowed.
“You see…” my Dad said  “Great teacher’s don’t just teach you about their subject – they teach you about life!”
He went on.
“In chemistry class one day, Lester Taylor told us that, at higher altitudes, water will boil at a temperature less than 100 degrees Celsius. I said I didn’t believe it. So, he offered to prove it.
“The next Saturday a bunch of us piled into his old truck, and he drove us to the base of the San Francisco Peaks. We started to climb. That’s no easy hike, and Lester was no spring chicken, but we had trouble keeping up with him! Up though the pines, up past the tree line, and finally up to the top. Then we made a fire, got out a pan, and some water, and a thermometer… and sure enough… it boiled at about 80 degrees. Proof positive. 
“Now how many teachers would do that? How many great teachers, like that, do you think there are today?” My Dad asked John.
John blinked again, his brow un-furrowed, and then, a grin spread across his face. He looked up at my Dad, and said…
“I don’t know.”

And my Dad smiled.
And I smiled, and I thought to myself… How many great teachers are there like that today?
I don’t know… 

But I knew I was looking at one, right there, in our workshop.
Author’s Note:
After Winslow High, my Dad went on to earn his degree in abstract mathematics and become a high school math teacher – like Lester Taylor. And, just as Lester’s teaching inspired my dad, my dad went on to inspire others. One of his students, Salvadori Nicolas Pizzo, went on to become my third grade teacher! In retrospect I can see that, being my Dad’s daughter, is probably why Mr. Pizzo expected so much from me… he was one tough cookie!
And it’s thanks to him that I still know my times tables by heart, (all the way through the 12’s).
Thanks Mr. Pizzo. Thanks Dad.  And thank you, Lester Taylor.

Molly Idle has been drawing ever since she could wield a pencil. But while she started scribbling before she could walk, her professional career as an artist began slightly later…

It was upon her graduation from Arizona State University, with a BFA in Drawing, that Molly accepted an offer to work for DreamWorks Feature Animation Studios.  After five years, a number of film credits, and an incredibly good time, she left the studio and leapt with gusto into the world of children’s book illustration!

Molly now lives in Arizona with her brilliant husband, two wonderfully mischievous sons, and two snugly cats. When not making mischief with her boys or watching old Technicolor musicals, she can be found at her desk scribbling away, with a pencil in one hand and a cup of espresso in the other- creating a plethora of profoundly whimsical picture books!

You can find Molly only at http://idleillustration.com/ and on Twitter as @MollyIdle.

Click on the image above to read Mr. Sharp’s interview!

Click on the image above to read Mr. Sharp’s interview!

Click on the image above to read Mr. Sharp's interview! Click on the image above to visit Mr. Schu's post - the book trailer + book giveaway!

Click on the image above to visit Mr. Schu’s post – the book trailer + book giveaway!