While bugs made a couple of cameos in my previous post on Look and Listen, they are the total stars of Hustle Bustle Bugs, written by Catherine Bailey and illustrated by Lauren Eldridge.
Lucky for us, Catherine stopped by to chat about this cutie creepy crawly book.
TS: Hi, Catherine. Thanks for taking a break from your own hustle and bustle to join us.
Pretend we are all crammed in an elevator with you. Give us a quick pitch for Hustle Bustle Bugs.
CB: Hi and hello, and thank you so much for having me!
I love the idea of us all in an elevator together. And if I can pitch a book, even better! Here goes, my book in a blurb: From farming beetles to architect spiders, Hustle Bustle Bugs showcases the hard work talents of industrious insects as they create their itty bitty cities. Includes NF sidebars and back matter.
TS: What was the initial spark for this book? Was it a bee sting? The zap of a lightning bug? A particularly annoying mosquito?
CB: Ha! Those certainly helped, but credit for this book goes to my two daughters, especially my oldest. As a toddler she collected all manner of creepy-crawly critters. I actually had to buy extra Tupperware just to house all of her new friends.
TS: I think your older daughter and my 24-year-old daughter would have been best friends!
Not only is this book a joy to read aloud, but it offers an interesting and relatable fact to go along with each bug. For instance, you compare grasshoppers to landscapers and fireflies to park rangers. This allows readers to see that bugs play various roles in their community in the same way that people play various roles in theirs. Was that the plan from the start, or did that layer evolve in later drafts?
CB: You are so kind. Thank you! Originally this book was a collection of bug-themed poems. They had glorious titles like UGLY BUGLY and PLEASE DON’T SQUISH ME and also STOP SCREAMING. (If you can’t tell, I wasn’t the biggest bug fan back then!) But, the more I learned about my daughter’s buggy buddies, the more I grew to appreciate their talents and hustle. That led to the basic premise and format for the text. My family is full of entrepreneurs and self-made folks, so I was eager to celebrate the value of hard work to younger kids.
TS: Lauren Eldridge’s art is so energetic and fresh! Plus, I love that she created “A Note from the Artist” at the end of this book. Please tell us about one of your favorite spreads.
CB: I feel like I won the illustrator lottery with Lauren. She is amazing. So, it is super hard to pick out a favorite scene. It changes every time I open the book because I am always discovering something new in her art. For today I will say it is the butterfly spread. The colors are gorgeous!
TS: What would a fly on your wall have to say about your research process?
CB: If a fly on the wall observed my research process, he would probably get very bored and zip off to find a much more interesting person. This is because I dig DEEP for my nonfiction books, and it’s a very slow and time-consuming process. Besides using online resources, I also call experts and visit libraries for hard copies of materials. Before I wrote books for kids, I was a Research Attorney and my career was, well, researching stuff. Therefore I tend to be overly thorough.
TS: What is your favorite bug-tastic tidbit?
CB: My favorite bug-tastic tidbit has to be that dragonflies have been on Earth for 300 million years. They didn’t make it into the book, but I think they are SO cool. They are like little teensy flying dinosaurs!
TS: Scoop time! What’s next?
CB: Well speaking of dinosaurs, my next book, DINOS DON’T MEDITATE, will debut in early 2023 from Sounds True Publishing. It explores the friendship between a rough and tumble T-Rex and his yoga-loving buddy, Sam. It was written as a follow up to DINO’S DON’T DO YOGA, which came out in 2020. And I’m happy to report that I recently sold GOOD NIGHT SCHOOL to Union Square Kids in a two-book deal. Visit www.catherinebaileybooks.com for more news on that. And thank you so much for interviewing me. This has been so fun 🙂
TS: Oh, that is excellent scoop. Congratulations!
Catherine is giving away a copy of Hustle Bustle Bugs! Leave a comment here for a chance to win. Share the post on Twitter for another chance to win–be sure to tag @SauerTammi. For ONE MORE CHANCE TO WIN, follow Picture Book Builders on Instagram and like the post about this book.
Congratulations, Cathy Felty! You won a copy of Look and Listen.