Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kid Konnection: My Mom is the Best Circus & Giveaway

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to celebrate moms with an adorable picture book!

Summary: This humorous story celebrates mom as the best one-woman show on earth as she juggles everything that goes on during the day—she's a ringmaster, a wild beast tamer, a magician, and sometimes a clown. But her best stunt of all is the sandman show, when it's time for a good-night story.

Luciana Navarro Powell's colorful, humorous illustrations are a perfect complement to her spirited, rhyming text. -- Robin Corey Books

Around Father's Day last year, I reviewed a very cute board book called MY DAD IS THE BEST PLAYGROUND by Luciana Navarro Powell. I was excited to discover that the author has another book just in time for Mother's Day titled MY MOM IS THE BEST CIRCUS.

MY MOM IS THE BEST CIRCUS is a wonderful tribute to moms and all that they do. I absolutely loved it -- from the comparisons to being a ringleader, a juggler, and magician and even a clown! This board book features just how much moms accomplish everyday and how important they are to their children. I actually had to laugh at all of the things mothers have in common with members of a circus -- right down to walking on stilts (i.e. high heels!)

MY MOM IS THE BEST CIRCUS is perfect for even the littlest of toddlers. In addition to the simple, rhyming text, the colorful illustrations are fun. I especially liked the facial expressions on the mom and the children. I am pretty sure that little ones will laugh at a few of the pictures too!

Highly recommend for Mother's Day and any day that we celebrate motherhood!

I recently had the pleasure of asking Luciana Navarro Powell a few questions about her books...

Booking Mama: You are both the author and the illustrator for the two picture books MY DAD IS THE BEST PLAYGROUND and MY MOM IS THE BEST CIRCUS. I am curious about your artistic process. Do you come up with the text or the drawings first? Or do you work on both at the same time?
Ms. Powell: Thank you for having me on your blog again! I have been illustrating children's books for a long time, writing is more recent. These are the first books I have both written and illustrated, and in this case the text came first, once I was happy with it then I started sketching.
Booking Mama: What was the inspiration for MY DAD IS THE BEST PLAYGROUND and MY MOM IS THE BEST CIRCUS?
Ms. Powell: In both cases inspiration came from pure observation of daily routines in my own house - and then later on, by talking with friends that also have young families, I could "confirm" my "theory".
In the case of My Dad is the Best Playground, the story originated from observing my husband roughhousing with my two sons, ages three and five. One night, I was tucking my sons into bed and my husband got home from work later than usual so he missed our bedtime routine, but he was still full of energy and eager to play with them. I remember thinking, “oh great, they are going to get all riled up again, here comes the playground!” As you know, it’s hard work to get kids settled down and ready for bed, so I was a bit annoyed with this sudden burst of energy.  However, I was still happy to see them play and have always been fascinated by how kids and their fathers play more physically and with more freedom than they do with us mothers- who are usually worried about someone getting hurt! 
With My Mom is the Best Circus, the idea was born from just looking into my own daily routine! It is a positive and humorous look on the challenges that mothers go through every single day. What sparked the idea for this one was a gigantic pile of laundry I had to deal with one day - it looked like a beast that was going to swallow me if I didn't tame it! Also on that same day I had to literally play the clown to cheer up my 4 year-old from some drama - I don't even remember what it was - but I found one of those clown noses lost in a drawer and put it on, and it immediately lifted up his spirits! From there, I kept thinking of all the things a mother goes through every single day and that could be related to a circus - from running the show like a ringmaster to magically making the kids eat their vegetables, while juggling everything else at the same time!
Booking Mama: You are an illustrator for many children's books. Can you describe your collaborative process with the author?
Ms. Powell: Well, this is always a surprise to most people, but very rarely there is a collaborative process with the author, unless of course you are illustrating your own story. Most of the time the book starts with the story, and then the art director at the publisher house picks an illustrator that would be a good match for that story. In the case of the dinosaur series I illustrated for Chronicle Books (Alphasaurus, Countasaurus, Shapeasaurus and Colorasaurus), for example, I never talked to the author at all. In my last project - a children's book app called "Spatter and Spark", by New York Times best seller Deborah Underwood - I ended up getting to meet Deborah, but only after I had started illustrating the story already.
Booking Mama: Do you have more books planned in this "series?"
Ms. Powell: No, I am happy with this little duo, I think I told all I needed to tell with those two! Unless, of course, something sparks a new story for a grandparent book next time my mother comes to visit my boys!
Booking Mama: What are some of your favorite children's books?
Ms. Powell: That is always a difficult question to answer, I own and love so many! So I will mention the ones that have been the most popular at bedtime with the boys lately - and I love all of them, too: Jingle the Brass, by Patricia Newman illustrated by Michael Chesworth; Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown; The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood illustrated by Renata Liwska, Press Here by Herve Tullet, all of the Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems, The Dark by Lemony Snicket illustrated by Jon Klassen, The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein...

I'd like to thank Ms. Powell for taking time from her busy schedule to answer a few of my questions!

Giveaway alert: Thanks to the fine folks at Random House, I have a copy of MY MOM IS THE BEST CIRCUS to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before Friday, May 17th at 11:59 p.m. ET. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

Oh these books make me wish I had a little one to give them to! It's interesting that the illustrator may not even meet the author.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've been to a number of children's illustrators workshops and it is truly amazing how much autonomy they have and how little say the author has!

bermudaonion said...

This book sounds adorable and so true!!

Karlie said...

We love My Dad is the Best Playground!

Karlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I think the ideal scenario is a children's author who is also the illustrator for their book, because after all I think part of the reason picture books are highly successful is because of the illustrations.