TODAY   |  April 28, 2014

Julie Andrews: ‘Such a pleasure’ writing with daughter

The actress and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, join TODAY to chat about working together on the children's book “The Very Fairy Princess,” the latest in their series.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the legendary julie andrews has captivated audiences for more than five decades. can you believe this august marks the 50th anniversary of her oscar-winning performance in " mary poppins ." she is also, of course, a successful author, collaborating with her daughter emma walton hamilton on a series of children's books. the latest, "the very fairy princess graduation girl." nice to see you.

>> nice to see you, too.

>> you two are prolific. this is the eighth book in in particular series.

>> that's right. and our 28th together, if you can believe it.

>> i'm always amazed by this, because this is a mother-daughter collaboration that really works. why do you think it works, julie?

>> because i think we -- i have to say this. we have a huge respect for each other. and the best idea wins. and it's such a pleasure. it's like playing in a wonderful sand box . there's a lot of work and research from other projects. but it's just fun, isn't it?

>> it is. and it's such a pleasure to write for kids. it's such a wonderfully inspiring sort of mission-driven thing to do together.

>> now this book has to do with graduation day .

>> moving on.

>> the larger theme is change, something that everybody can understand.

>> yes. and how little girls have to embrace that, too. you know, when they graduate.

>> the main character is loosely based on your daughter emma.

>> she is inspired by my hope.

>> she's 10 now?

>> she'll be 11 in august.

>> how does she feel about being the star of these books?

>> i think she loves being the inspiration for it.

>> she's actually very helpful.

>> she is. she's our best critic.

>> yes, she's our toughest critic, and she's also great with a couple of suggestions once in a while .

>> she's our first reader always.

>> is she changing story lines ever?

>> no.

>> this particular story, i should mention, was inspired very much by her experience when she was moving into a new class and had her first male teacher in elementary school . and she was a little nervous about that. of course, it turned out brilliantly. he was the best teacher ever.

>> we mentioned at the beginning, julie, 50 years since " mary poppins " coming up this fall.

>> i know. and very shortly, "the sound of music ."

>> when you think about that, do you ever reflect and say what would i tell the julie andrews of 1964 now? what would i tell that young lady ?

>> oh, god. well, first of all, i wish i knew then what i know now. but having said that, i'd say enjoy the moment. but i did anyway. it's just with more realization now. and i do enjoy the moments. and i do -- every day matters. and i think i got it even then.

>> it flies by, doesn't it?

>> well, it does. and that's the whole point. because it goes by so fast. and enjoy the moment.

>> you're out on a speaking tour this summer in the uk.

>> yes, i am.

>> i love it because people get to ask you questions. i have personally -- you've been here a few times, how people respond to you. how excited they are to see you. you ever get any real crazy questions from people?

>> one or two really crazy ones. but mostly, they're all family-based and things like what would i tell somebody that wanted to be in the theatre and so on. and a lot of them i'm used to. but one or two that cut across surprise me sometimes.

>> i heard someone asked if you would be their nanny, which good for them for having a little moxy.

>> i say that with nine grandchildren, i'm pretty booked up right now.

>> yes, you are. with a lot of different things, including, of course, the book. "the very fairy princess graduation girl." always great to see you, ladies.