By The Book: Cathleen Schine

Every Sunday, the New York Times Book Review section runs an author Q-and-A. The questions are often probing; the answers, intriguing.

Yesterday’s was also local. And for me, it was personal.

Cathleen Schine

Cathleeen Schine — Staples High School graduate, and best-selling author of novels like The Three Weissmanns of Westport — was the subject.

To the question “What book should everybody read before the age of 21?” she responded:

The Phantom Tollbooth. Our teacher read it to us in 4th grade. It changed my life. Words are real!”

She’s right. Too bad though that she did not give her teacher — Burr Farms Elementary School’s immensely talented, much loved, died-way-too-early Annette Fournier — a shout-out by name.

How do I know?

I was in that class too.

(Click here for the entire interview. Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

7 responses to “By The Book: Cathleen Schine

  1. Bruce Fernie SHS 1970

    I also remember Miss Fournier fondly.

  2. Mrs. Fournier had a meaningul impact on me too – I was already a voracious reader by 5th grade, but she introduced me to ideas like literary styles and author appreciation. While I’m sure the other elementary schools in town offered the same experience, Burr Farms was a wonderful place with so many memorable teachers (and coaches and librarians)!

    Thanks for reminding me Dan of how good we had [have] it here in Westport.

  3. Miss Hartstein read the same book to us when I was in 4th grade at Burr Farms! I loved it.

  4. I would LOVE some photos of Annette Fournier! She is the teacher who brought the needs of gifted students to the attention of the district, and I owe her a great debt. Would you email photos to Dan, and I can collect from him? THANK YOU!

  5. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70 BA, MA, JDE

    My mother was school secretary at Burr Farms in the early 60’s. I knew Miss Fournier well. A great teacher with a great sense of humor and a lovely lady.

  6. I’m sure some Gen Z readers will ask: “What’s a tollbooth?”

  7. Mrs. Fournier was awesome, as is “The Phantom Tollbooth,” which I often read to my son when he was young.

    I remember her reading it to our class at Burr Farms. I dreamed of finding the Kingdom of Wisdom, but ended up in Wisdom, Montana, instead — forever lost in the Doldrums and Mountains of Ignorance with no Rhyme and Reason.
    (But the trout fishing is good.)

    Thanks to Mrs. Fournier and “The Phantom Tollbooth,” I learned all about puns and idioms.

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