Yes! You read the blog post title right! TWO new books from Susanna Leonard Hill! As you can see from the banner above, the covers are adorable. And I promise you the books are just as adorable as the covers. In case you would like to read other posts about Susanna’s new books, here is a handy schedule so that you can visit other stops on the blog tour.
But now let’s get down to the business of learning more about these books.
Due to the nature of these two books, WHEN YOU ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, I thought it only fitting that I should check in on Susanna. Her books are instruction manuals and I have no doubt that her instructions are tried and true. However, hers aren’t your everyday instruction manuals. They involve (of all things) an elephant and a lion. Knowing how serious Susanna is about her writing I imagine her bravely taking on the dangerous task of caring for an elephant with the sniffles. And the even more dangerous task of giving a lion a bath.
In fact I imagine these dangerous tasks so … uh … well … uh … like I said dangerous, that I strongly suggested to Susanna that I conduct this interview by email instead of in person. I mean I’m not the one who chose to write these books and I don’t fancy putting myself in that kind of danger. Call me chicken if you like but I sure didn’t want any part of tromping or chomping!
Speaking of tromping, let’s start with the elephant.
Me: Susanna, I realize that elephants can look all gray and trunky and sweet, but let’s face it … they’re BIG! How did you do the research for this book? Did you actually observe an elephant? Was the elephant in your home for any length of time? Did you go through a lot of trial and error to determine the best way to deal with an elephant with the sniffles? Did you go through a lot of tissues? That’s a lot of questions (because I’m very curious) but, in general, I would like to know what your process was like as you wrote this brilliant instruction manual for those of us who some day might have an elephant with the sniffles?
Susanna: Penny! Penny, is that you? Argh! Urgh! If this elephant would just… Move…OVER!
Ah! *gasps with relief* There you are!
Oh! And you have company! Hi, everyone!
PennyPennyPenny. I think we’d better begin by addressing the elephant in the room, don’t you?
No, not Umberto. (Although I should introduce him. Umberto, meet everyone. Everyone, Umberto.)
No. I am referring to the fact that you, my dearest Penny, refused to come here in person, feeling that you’d be in danger.
Oh, ye of little faith!
They don’t call me Safari Su for nothing! Did you really think I’d let my elephant tromp you?
Because of course you are right. I do take my research seriously, so Umberto has been camped out
here on Blueberry Hill for many moons. But he’s pretty harmless unless you happen to dart behind him when he’s about to sit down and he doesn’t see you in time… 🙂
As you may know, I have a bunch of kids. Some might say a horde. So I have dealt with many a kid-sniffle. And when kids have the sniffles, well, they often feel a little bit miserable – runny-nosed, itchy eyed, scratchy-throated, sorry-for-themselves little critters. So I got to thinking… (always dangerous 🙂 )… what would make them feel better?
If I were a chef, I might have whipped up a healing ganache or some such.
If I were crafty, I might have knitted, crocheted, or quilted a cozy coverlet.
If I were musically-inclined, I might have strummed a little ditty to cheer them.
Alas, I am none of those things.
But I am a writer.
So I thought to myself, how about a story?
And that is how this little instruction manual came about.
No kid wants to know how to take care of kids, though. That’s no fun!
So I thought to myself, hmmm…a kid might not want to take care of a kid, but EVERY kid needs to know how to take care of their elephant! (Every kid HAS an elephant, right? It’s not just me..? 🙂 )
Elephants, as it turns out, are not so very different from kids.
They like the crusts cut off their peanut butter sandwiches.
They insist on wearing rainboots even if the cloudy sky is only hinting at rain. Just In Case!
They won’t even consider going to sleep at night until you conduct the Mommy Sweep (clearing out any monsters who might be lurking in the closet or under the bed.)
So it came as no surprise that when they have the sniffles, just like kids, they need to be tucked in bed, entertained, waited on hand and foot, and kept happy and quiet so as to avoid sneezing and get better!
They just need everything exponentially larger and in greater quantities 🙂
Me: Why that doesn’t sound so dangerous. It seems like Umberto wasn’t into tromping at all. He just needed a little love.
But the lion . . . Yikes! They seem to like to chomp things. And people seem just right for chomping. Yet you and the lion must have come to some kind of agreement since you’re still standing. Same questions apply here—How did you do the research for this book? Did you actually observe a lion? Was the lion in your home/bathtub for any length of time? Did you go through a lot of trial and error to determine the best way to bathe a lion? Again, that’s a lot of questions (because I’m still very curious) but, in general, I would like to know what your process was like as you wrote this brilliant instruction manual for those of us who might have a lion in bad need of a bath?
Susanna: Now, the lion was another matter.
That lion ruled my house for months!
Months, I tell you!
At the time, he was not a lion. He was a 21 month-old old girl. A 21 month-old girl who had been treated with nothing but love and kindness since the day she was born, bathed tenderly and carefully from day one (well, day eight actually, since there can be no bathing before belly buttons) never carelessly splashed or doused or traumatized by water in any way.
…one dark day…
…that 21 month-old girl decided there would be NO MORE BATHS!
And she was just as fierce as any lion, and just as LOUD!, believe you me!
And let me tell you, there was a great deal of experimentation, trial and error, coaxing, cajoling, middle-naming, and bribery involved in solving that problem!Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill, Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman, Used by permission of Little Simon
After that, getting a lion into the tub was child’s play 🙂
It turns out that when you live with a horde of kids, research on wild animal behavior is easier than you might think. It seems to come with the territory 🙂
Me: Goodness! I never thought of it that way but you make excellent points. And after hearing from you, I’m certain that every household . . . and I mean EVERY household . . . should own a copy of your two books just to keep everything under control.
What’s that you said, Susanna? REALLY??? Oh.my.goodness!!! How generous of you! Listen up everyone!!!
Susanna is giving away one signed copy of each book! All you have to do is leave a comment below. Leave your comment no later than midnight (CDT) Thursday, August 10, 2017 and your name will be written on a tissue and place in my bathtub so that I can draw a winner! If an elephant and lion show up at my house before the drawing, I may have to use another method for the random drawing. Either way I will draw a winner for each book! ***You must be in the United States to win.
Don’t forget to share this post using #whenyourbooks! Every time you post with #whenyourbooks you get an entry in the end-of-tour raffle for a Special Prize!
Meet Susanna: Susanna is the award winning author of over a dozen books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis (A Book List Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice), No Sword Fighting In The House (a Junior Library Guild selection), Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (a Children’s Book of The Month), and Not Yet, Rose (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Winner and an Itabashi Translation Award Finalist.) Her books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, and Japanese, with one forthcoming in Chinese. Her newest books, When Your Lion Needs A Bath, When Your Elephant Has The Sniffles, and The Road That Trucks Built will be published by Little Simon in July 2017. When Your Llama Needs A Haircut (Little Simon) and Alphabedtime! (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Books) are forthcoming in Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 respectively, with additional titles coming in 2018 and 2019. She lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband, children, and two rescue dogs.
Places to Find Susanna: Website: http://www.susannahill.com/HOME.html
Face Book Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SusannaLeonardHill
Making Picture Book Magic (online picture book writing course): http://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/