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“Where the pole beans climb, where the tomatoes grow fat, where the onions smell sweet and the corn is yellow as the summer sun, that’s the garden of Clem — Farmer Clem.” So begins this story about Baby Mouse, a tiny mouse who loves to go exploring in the garden. But watch out! You never know what might happen when Baby climbs into a head of lettuce, or up a tomato plant, or when there’s a fox on the prowl.
These are some of the ingredients of The Pea Patch Jig — a book as refreshing as a summer evening in Vermont.
Inspired by the traditional song “The Pea Patch Jig,” which was unearthed by the great songwriter singer John Hartford.
Review: The Pea Patch Jig is an amazing and humorous adventure. This book was inspired by the traditional song “The Pea Patch Jig,” which was unearthed by the great songwriter singer John Hartford. The story follows Baby Mouse is shooting peas out of her window and scaring away foxes, Father Mouse is knocking blenders onto Farmer Clem’s shoulder! The illustrations are cute and adorable. The Pea Patch Jig is the great for little ones and a fun read for adults!
- Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in Vermont, but grew up in California. I live in Berkeley with my wife Olivia, and we have two grown sons. I went to art school, but learned how to make picture books later. Picture books look so easy, but they take a lot of time to really understand.
- Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Pea Patch Jig grew out of another project, an Uncle Remus book that I was going to illustrate. That never happened, but Pea Patch Jig was a song we were going to put in the book. Somehow, the title just inspired the book, the idea of mouse adventures on a fine summer day.
- How do you create your characters?
I let my characters discover themselves. I don’t really feel that I create them, the good ones just seem to appear on the scene and start talking. I let them do their thing, and see what happens. I think of the characters as alive.
- What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I am inspired by the idea of doing something I haven’t done before, going in an unexplored direction. I hate repeating myself. Each new book has to interest me, take me to a new emotional territory. If I get bored with a book I know others will too.
- Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I write in my studio, but if I’m really engrossed in a book I am thinking about it all the time. I get distracted in my studio, and try to keep the internet out as much as possible.
- How do you get your ideas for writing?
I have no idea. I don’t know where the seeds of ideas come from. I just notice them when they come up in my mental creative garden. Then I have to water them and tend them and see if I can help them come to life.
- What do you like to read?
I like to read Tolstoy, non-fiction adventure books, biographies. And good kids books.
- What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Study how to write. Learn the craft. If you want to write for money, you will have a harder time than if you write because you love to create. Join SCBWI. Meet other writers, learn from great writers, take writing workshops. Have fun.
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