Welcome To The Spotlight: Dianne Ochiltree and Molly, By Golly!


Hooray! Today I’m putting the spotlight on Dianne Ochiltree and her newest picture book, Molly, By Golly (illustrated by Kathleen Kemly)! Stayed tuned (below) to find out how you can win a signed copy of this informative and fun picture book!

Congratulations on the release of your newest picture book, MOLLY, BY GOLLY! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter (Calkins Creek), fabulously illustrated by Kathleen Kemly.  You first became interested in Molly when you came across her legend while researching another book.  What inspired you to turn this into a picture book?

First, it was the great spirit of volunteerism that is at the heart of Molly’s legendary tale.  What Molly lacked in experience she more than compensated for with her courage and strength.  It was a great opportunity to inspire future firefighters and other community helpers.  Second, it was a chance to show kids how fires were actually fought in early American times.  I was meticulous in my research of these details, and so was illustrator Kathleen Kemly—the firefighting history experts who double-checked our efforts were equally meticulous—because we all wanted to present as accurate a picture as possible.  Kids will certainly get an appreciation for the modern equipment we have today. Third, Molly’s legend was filled with the type of action and emotion sure to inspire fabulous illustrations…which is just what happened!

I was fascinated to learn how intensive and exhausting firefighting was in the 1800s! What part of your research for this book surprised you the most?

The biggest surprise was learning that the earliest pumper engines were not transported to the scene of a fire by a team of horses as I’d always assumed—PEOPLE did.  The cobblestone streets were very narrow and bumpy, and it was often easier and safer for humans to maneuver the heavy pumper in tight spots. Also, since there were no paid fire companies at the time, there were no funds for buying, feeding and housing horses to help fight fires.  There were no firehouses as we know them today, either.  The volunteer companies only had equipment sheds for their very basic tools. No “sliding-down-a-fire-pole” fun for these early firefighters!

Molly was a cook for firefighters.  You share some delicious-sounding dishes in the book!  What are some of your favorite comfort foods?

My favorite comfort foods:  Pad Thai Noodles, Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Carolina Pulled Pork—but not all in the same meal!  I had a wonderful time researching early American cookery, and just loved the quaint-and-quirky names of dishes that Molly might have fixed for her ‘fire laddies’.  Recipes for all the dishes in the book are posted on my author website, collected in “Molly’s Cookbook.”

Dianne Ochiltree is the author of several acclaimed picture books for the very young, including CATS ADD UP!, TEN MONKEY JAMBOREE, SIXTEEN RUNAWAY PUMPKINS, AND LULL-A-BYE, LITTLE ONE, an ‘Imagination Library’ selection for the Dollywood Foundation’s national childhood literacy program.  She is a freelance editor and writing coach; a book reviewer for childrenslit.com; and frequent workshop presenter at writers conferences.  She tweets publishing industry information from her twitter address, @Writer Di.  She lives in Sarasota, Florida, in a bungalow by the bay with her husband, Jim; a chocolate Labrador retriever named Sally and Simon, the family’s Maine Coon cat. For more information about Dianne and her books, go to www.ochiltreebooks.com.

Win a signed copy of Molly, By Golly!

Dianne has generously offered to send a signed copy of her fabulous picture book to one lucky winner! Please follow the directions below (most of you know the drill)!

1. Comment on this post, and for fun, tell me what your favorite comfort food is. Mine is roast chicken and gravy. Oh, and potato salad. And ochazuke and umeboshi (Japanese rice and tea with pickled plum).

2. Leave your comment by midnight EST Sunday, September 16th. The lucky winner will be announced on this blog and will be contacted by email on Tuesday, September 18th. Late entries will not be included in the drawing (sorry).

3. Entrants must have a U.S. or Canada mailing address.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

5 responses »

  1. Did you say a cook for firefighters? Love PB biographies and this one sounds really interesting.

    My favorite comfort food? Spam and rice — it’s my Hawaii genes. 🙂 Wait — there’s also chocolate and cookies . . . and any kind of SOUP!

  2. My favorite comfort food is my wife’s pot roast served with mashed potatoes, minted carrots and a big pile of horseradish. I think I could eat that every night for a year. Dang, now I’m hungry.

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