Writer of children’s fiction ponders the sto
WITHIN the first 20 pages of Rachel Wildavsky’s book The Secret of Rover, the lives of 12-year-old twins Katie and David are turned upside down. Their parents are kidnapped in a foreign country, and it’s up to them to figure out how to get them back. The only problem is, their babysitter is in on the kidnapping.
“What I wanted to do in a book is put my characters in very tough spots – the toughest spot I can think of – and then see if they can get out of it,” said Wildavsky from her home in Chevy Chase. “That was the idea for this book.”
Katie and David’s adventure takes them out of their city, Washington, to Vermont and then back again before they figure out what’s going on, and what the secret of Rover is.
Wildavsky, 53, has always been a writer, just not always one for kids. In fact The Secret of Rover, which is perfect for age nine and older, is her first book for kids. She was a journal- ist for years, reporting facts and covering stories in cool places including the White House. She has always been a reader, too, growing up with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and The Chronicles of Narnia. She never thought about writing for kids. Then one day, she came up with the idea of writing a story about characters who lose it all and then have to figure out what to do.
“I’m always… imagining what I would do in an emergency. If I’m