Today I’m extra excited because I get to be the host of a very special interview (with book review included)! Please join me in welcoming picture book author Penny Parker Klostermann and young readers, James and Luke, ages 7 and 5, as they review Penny’s new book A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE (Random House Books for Young Readers, September 5, 2017) and then interview the author in a special Author Spotlight.
Before we begin – I’d like to set the stage a little. One hot afternoon in early July a shiny gold package – containing Penny’s charming new picture book – was mistakenly delivered to James’ and Luke’s doorstep. Since they were greatly excited by the arrival of the package I said they could read it first. So they did and they LOVED it. They kept asking and wanting to read the story again and again and it was actually quite some time before I got to see the book myself. Their enthusiasm inspired me and so, with their mother’s permission, I asked if they’d be interested in reviewing the book and interviewing the author for my blog!
They said yes! And the result is… well… delightful! Thank you James, Luke and Penny! Now on to the review and interview with the boys’ words in purple and Penny’s in green to match the bubbling cauldron on the book’s cover.
First, Penny’s response to how A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE was delivered to the wrong house:
I have to say that I’m in love with this delivery mishap and the events that followed. In A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, there is a delivery mishap too and it’s essential to the story. Not only is there this wonderful delivery mishap coincidence, but also because Laura let the boys read the book first, there’s a fun “kid review” of my book! And isn’t a “kid review” the absolute best and most important kind of review possible? It makes me smile from ear-to-ear that James and Luke loved A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE enough to spend time with it, write a review, and even create their own art. This is definitely a happily-ever-after moment for me as an author.
Next, the review:.
A BOOK REVIEW BY JAMES
Title: A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE
Author: Penny Parker Klostermann
“This book is about a boy named William that LOVED to cook! William loved to cook so much that he used the ingredients from the fairy tales and when the fairy tales began, what William cooked messed up the fairy tales. What I thought was funny about this book was the William tried working at Gingerbread-on-the-go. I would recommend this book!”
James’s review is a treasure. Now that this book is out in the world it’s no longer mine. But when I wrote it there were certain things I hoped readers would take away when they read it. I’m excited that James thought about William just as I did when I created his character. I love that he found humor in the story. And I especially love that he recommends A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE!
And now… the interview with authentic kid questions! (Thanks, again, boys!)
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I love David Ezra Stein’s book, INTERRUPTING CHICKEN. I think it’s so fun the way he used well-known fairy tales to tell a tale of his own. I wondered if I could come up with an idea for a story that would include fairy tales but be a story of its own. I researched by listing fairy tales and their common elements. While doing this I noticed how many fairy tales have food in them and the idea grew from there.
How did you pick the characters?
When I noticed that so many fairy tales had food items in them I had to decide how a main character would interact with food in mind. A chef seemed perfect—a chef who loved cooking so much that he ignored all else in the magical land of fairy tales. Enter William, the chef.
Then I needed a character that ran the land so that when things went wrong she could make sure the fairy tales got back on track. Enter Judy, Chief of Fairy Tale Headquarters.
Do you like cooking?
Yes and no. I do like baking. Cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, cobblers, and anything else to feed my sweet tooth. But when it comes to cooking a full-blown meal, I don’t do that very often any more. I’d rather be doing other things like writing ☺, walking, reading, or watching TV. It’s just my husband and me at home so we’d just as soon have a salad or something else simple. I am a good cook though and I can whip up a full meal when I need to.
Where did you get the title from?
Well that’s an interesting question because it wasn’t the original title. The original title was APPLES, BEANS, AND PIE, OH MY! Sort of Wizard of Oz-ish, right? But my critique group thought since that title gave a nod to the Wizard of Oz that people would expect my story to have a hint of Oz, which it didn’t at all. They had a good point. So I played around with it and thought about William cooking up trouble. That’s when A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE came to mind.
Where did you get the illustrations?
Aren’t they perfect? My editor at Random House, Maria Modugno, picked Ben Mantle to do them. She picked him for my first book and he did an amazing job. She thought he would be just right for my second book, too. I didn’t talk to Ben at all when he was drawing the illustrations because he gets to use his creativity to tell half of the story with pictures. He’s such a talented artist.
Finally, I asked each boy to draw a picture of their favorite scene. Luke picked the three little bears (because they are funny) and James picked the city scape (because it reminded him of where he used to live).
Penny’s reaction to their delightful artwork:
If any of you reading this post follow my blog series, A GREAT NEPHEW AND A GREAT AUNT, you’re aware of my fondness for children’s artwork. Children’s artwork has an energy and an element of confidence that I wish they could hold on to forever. When I saw Luke’s drawing of the three bears and James’s drawing of the cityscape you can imagine how happy it made me. They included details from the book but made their artwork unique and special. If they lived closer I might have to borrow their drawings for a week so that I could hang them on my refrigerator and see them every time I walked by.
Thanks so much, Laura, for featuring A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE and for sharing your preview copy with James and Luke.
James and Luke, thank you for all of your hard work. Your review, questions, and drawings made me very, very happy ☺
And thank you, Penny, for joining in the fun. Congratulations on this book and I hope it’s just the second of many more to come!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale and There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, both from Random House Children’s Books. She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. Penny has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. You can learn more about Penny on her website at https://pennyklostermann.com/.