You guys–It’s a BULL in a china shop!
Isn’t he wonderful?
We’re so excited to celebrate the release of this wonderful book,
CLOVIS KEEPS HIS COOL, by Katelyn Aronson
( Illus. Eve Farb / Page Street Kids).
Speaking of cool, CLOVIS KEEPS HIS COOL was featured in
this WSJ article!
You might remember meeting Katelyn Aronson in a previous interview for her PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE picture book (click here). And now, we can welcome CLOVIS to the kidlit family.
Time for some Questions!
Q 1. What inspired this delightful story, CLOVIS KEEPS HIS COOL?
Katelyn Aronson: Besides the proverbial “bull in the china shop” expression (which was begging me for some backstory), this tale was woven together from disparate odds and ends in my life. For example, the football references are a nod to my maternal grandfather, while the tea references are for my maternal grandmother. Both my grandparents have passed on and including these elements was a way for me to celebrate their memory.
Q 2. Speaking of which, tell us about Grandma D. –who is mentioned in your dedication. Might these words, “Grace, grace. Nothing broken to replace.” be Granny D.’s words?
Katelyn Aronson: Actually, my Gramma Dee’s sacred words were more, “This too shall pass. Have some chocolate,” whenever I was lamenting life, ha! Delaine Phyllis Hawkinson (1933-2014) was my beloved grandmother who gifted me my very first china teapot. We both appreciated the beauty of finely crafted tea-ware…despite a shared preference for coffee! Just like Clovis’ “Granny Grace,” my gramma was a shining example of grace, strength, and humor (not to mention sass) for me during her life. It pains me to think that she never lived to see my published stories, but I hope that somehow, somewhere, my Gramma Dee is watching, and that she knows that this book is for her, with love. This is my favorite picture of us together. Isn’t she beautiful? Her laughter still echoes in my memory.
Q 3. If Clovis were to meet Piglette (PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE & the first book, PIGLETTE / Illus. Eva Byrne/ Viking ) what would their conversation be like? Would they be friends?
Katelyn Aronson: Oh yes, they would, and I’m sure they’d throw the best parties together! Clovis would of course handle the table setting and the beverage-pouring…Piglette would provide a plethora of pastries! (One day, when the pandemic is behind us, I sure would love to have a big tea party with readers of Clovis and Piglette! How fun would that be?)
E.D. note: Yes, please! Put me on the guest list, s’il vous plaît!
Q. 4. What surprises did illustrator Eve Farb bring to the book?
Katelyn Aronson: I had the huge honor of cherry-picking Eve Farb to work on this project (thank you to her and to Kristen Nobles for agreeing to that and making it all possible). I had been following Eve’s work for a while, dreaming of some kind of collaboration. My biggest surprise was looking at her first sample illustration (left image above) and thinking, “That’s him! My Clovis! I recognize him!” Eve’s depiction was exactly how I’d imagined him. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. Later, my request for the final cover (featured image / top of post) was that Clovis look PEEVED. I don’t think anyone could have captured his mood any better, do you?
Q 5. I love that this is literally a “bull-in-a-china-shop” story—but with so many layers. What do you hope young readers will take away after reading it?
Katelyn Aronson: I suppose both of my new releases this year (Piglette’s Perfect Surprise and Clovis) have been about messing up in some way, falling short of perfection. I hope that these stories are a comfort to readers—a reminder that, yes, we all make mistakes. We get overwhelmed. We overreact. But there is still grace to be found, for ourselves and for others. At times, we may need to learn to forgive our own mistakes before understanding how to extend forgiveness to others. Forgiving ourselves can sometimes be the hardest part!
Q 6. Are there other books in the queue? Can you share anything about them?
Katelyn Aronson: Thank you for asking, I’d love to share! I have a new book (or two) coming out every year from now through 2024.
The next one is POO-DUNIT ? A FOREST FLOOR MYSTERY—my silly, rhyming, STEM tale, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis and releasing from Candlewick in 2022.
In 2023, I have THE STORY OF PB&J illustrated by Sesame Street artist Sarah Rebar and releasing from Penguin Random House. It’s basically the kitchen/condiment version of West Side Story.
Alas…the rest remain secret for the moment! But my very first picture book to star human characters (and mermaids!) will make an appearance in 2024 with Candlewick. It’s so hard to wait patiently!
E.D. Note: You had me at “kitchen/condiment version of West Side Story…” Love, Love, LOVE!
Thank you, Katelyn Aronson, for joining us today.
To learn more about Katelyn Aronson and her books, follow her on Twitter: @MademoiselleK8
and check out her author page.
Next up on the blog: A celebration of Henry Herz’ powerful new picture book, I AM SMOKE.