Today we’re excited to chat with Laura Gehl,
author of Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating!
Below you’ll find her interview, more about Laura, and her book!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
In my twelve years of parenting, I have heard the words “I’M NOT” over and over and over—sometimes said in a sad voice, sometimes said in a whiny voice, sometimes shouted from the rooftops. More than a few times, I engaged in an Epic Power Struggle only to eventually realize that the child repeating “I’m not…” was actually scared. As opposed to purposely pushing my buttons.
In the Peep and Egg series, Egg is scared of all kinds of new experiences. Fortunately, timid Egg has big sister Peep to gently nudge her toward trying new things (and, of course, enjoying them!). The relationship between Peep and Egg also comes from my own kids, to some extent. I remember when my oldest son managed to convince his sister to try the Flying Whirling Wheel of Doom, or a similarly-titled carnival ride. She loved it, and he was so happy and proud. And then they enjoyed the ride together, over and over, just like Peep and Egg enjoy trick-or-treating together in this book.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
While it is fun coming up with Egg’s excuses, I enjoy writing Peep the most, because she has to come up with clever ways to entice Egg out of her shell (literally in the first book, and figuratively in the other books in the series). I also want to give a shout-out to another character: a little mouse, sick from too much Halloween candy, who can be found in Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick or Treating. Joyce Wan adds so many great touches in her illustrations, and that one is particularly funny.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the book?
The title of the first book in the series—Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching—was the beginning. The phrase “I’m Not Hatching” just popped into my head one night. And everything followed from there.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like that we see Peep’s Halloween costume on the cover but not Egg’s. Once you see Egg’s costume inside the book, you think, “Oh! Of course!”
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I honestly love both. Writing a first draft is incredibly fun and reminds me of trying to catch a butterfly (which I have never actually done, so no lectures about animal cruelty!). You are trying to pin down this glimmering, sparkling idea and get it onto paper. If it works, you are on top of the world. If it doesn’t work, you are in despair. And revising is amazing in its own way. Again, if the revision works—if you take a draft that isn’t quite right and turn it into something powerful and hilarious and poignant—hooray! But a lot of the time, you revise and revise and the story never quite clicks.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
Find a community of other children’s book writers! Have other kidlit people read and critique your work (with brutal honesty), and chat with other writers frequently. Not only does talking to other writers help you understand the industry, it also helps you share the joy when things go well, and survive the agony when they don’t.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
There are two more Peep and Egg books on the horizon. The next one will be Peep and Egg: I’m Not Taking A Bath. The art for that one—with Egg covered in mud after playing with the pigs—is my favorite out of all the Peep and Egg books. And I have several other picture books coming out in the next few years, including Koala Challah (Kar-Ben/Lerner), illustrated by Maria Mola, and My Pillow Keeps Moving (Viking/Penguin Random House), illustrated by Christopher Weyant.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. My superpower was being organized. I was Super Organizer Woman for years—not physically (I have clutter everywhere) but in terms of keeping track of the complicated schedules of all six members of our family. Recently, however, I have found things falling through the cracks. Like when I brought my daughter to a birthday party a day late. So I’m not sure I have a superpower anymore, unless it is The Ability To Sneakily Eat Chocolate Without Being Caught By Nearby Offspring.
Meet Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating!
Peep is so excited to go trick-or-treating with her friend Egg. She wants to visit the duck pond and the cow pasture to get treats. But Egg thinks Halloween is too scary, with frightening monsters possibly lurking everywhere! Peep tells her jokes because laughing helps you feel less scared. Egg is still not cracking. But soon Egg learns that maybe trick-or-treating is not so scary after all when you have a friend to hold on to.
Meet Laura Gehl!!
Laura Gehl is the author of ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR, a Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title, International Literacy Association Honor Book, and Booklist Books for Youth Editors’ Choice; HARE AND TORTOISE RACE ACROSS ISRAEL and AND THEN ANOTHER SHEEP TURNED UP (both PJ library selections for 2015); and the PEEP AND EGG series (FSG/Macmillan). A former science and reading teacher, she also writes about science for children and adults. Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children.
Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating
By: Laura Gehl
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)