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Betty According To Humphrey
I'm unsqueakably interested in this person called Betty G. Birney and I've learned quite a bit about her:

Birthday: April 26

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Grew up in: Affton, Missouri (suburb of St. Louis)

Schools: Reavis School, Affton High School, Webster College (now Webster University)

Now lives: Los Angeles, California, USA

Family: Husband Frank is an actor. Son Walshe studied history at university, but he recently graduated from the French Culinary Institute. Stepdaughters Rebecca and Anna are both artists and designers and are married. Granddaughter Remy is six and is Humphrey's best friend. Betty has one sister, Janet. She worked most of her life at the St. Louis Zoo so I guess she likes animals, too!

Pets: Betty is close friends with many hamsters, but she tends to keep dogs as pets (something that I try not to think about). Her dog, Desi, is not a fan of rodents but Betty loves all animals except the stinging, biting kind. She doesn't have a hamster ... but I (Humphrey) live in her heart.

Favorite subject: English

Other Jobs: Worked in advertising, worked at Disneyland in advertising, the Disney Studios in advertising and wrote over 300 episodes of children's television shows.

Hobbies: Reading (of course), playing piano, cooking, travelling, hanging out with friends

Childhood hobbies: Reading, playing piano, roller skating, bike riding, swimming, hanging out with friends

Favorite place to visit: UK

Favorite foods: Pasta, salads, raw veggies (really - just like a hamster), salty, crunchy things



Other books: The Princess and the Peabodys, which is available in the UK; The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, which is popular in the US. She previously wrote a lot of Disney books and two picture books, Tyrannosaurus Tex and Pie's in the Oven. She's written over 35 books in all.

Started writing: At age seven, Betty knew that she wanted to write books.

Inspiration for Humphrey: Betty's son was in a science classroom with a lot of classroom pets - even a boa constrictor. She was visiting one day and wondered what all those animals thought about what they saw and heard in the classroom. She thought it would be fun to write a book from the point of view of a classroom pet. It took a while for her to narrow it down to a hamster, but I think she made an excellent choice!

Inspiration for The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs: Betty wanted to capture the flavor of the wonderful stories her grandmother told her about growing up on a farm in Lonedell, Missouri. One of her stories is in the book and there are many other details that came from her grandmother. When she first thought about writing a book about this place called Sassafras Springs, Betty's young son was reading about the Seven Wonders of the World and told her that he wanted to see the whole world when he grew up. That was her inspiration for Eben.

Things you probably don't know about Betty:
She enjoyed acting when she was growing up
She also loved singing in school choirs and competitions
She works in a wonderful office (shed) in the back of her garden that's just for her writing. The walls are lined with bookshelves, like a library. She also has her desk and a couch there.
She talks to wild animals such as birds and squirrels (I'm not sure if they answer her back)
She spends more time working at her computer than you can possibly imagine!