Updike’s first New York Times mention came in a parenting article

Photo:  Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

Here’s a fascinating bit of trivia:  John Updike—reviewed and interviewed at least as much and probably more than any other writer—first appeared in The New York Times not in connection with his writing, but rather his parenting.

Way back on March 2, 1958, Dorothy Barclay compiled an article on “The Magic World of Words” that appeared in The Times.

The public was reminded of this by a recent article, “John Updike on Parenting, Agatha Christie in the Gossip Pages: First Mentions of Famous Authors in The Times.”

“Not long before his first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, was published, Updike—already an acclaimed short-story writer—was featured in a parenting article, ‘The Magic World of Words,’ which discussed the best ways to spark a child’s love for language. Updike, the father of toddlers, told the paper in 1958, ‘When children are picking up words with rapidity, between 2 and 3, say, tell them the true word for something even if it is fairly abstruse and long. A long correct word is exciting for a child. Makes them laugh; my daughter never says “rhinoceros” without laughing.’”

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