Interview With Julie Falatko (HELP WANTED: ONE ROOSTER)

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Julie Falatko (HELP WANTED: ONE ROOSTER)!




Meet the Author: Julie Falatko

Julie Falatko writes books for children. She is the author of the picture books Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) and Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably)No Boring Stories!The Great Indoors, the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat chapter book series, and Rick the Rock of Room 214. Julie lives with her family in Maine, where she maintains the Little Free Library in front of their house.

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Meet the Illustrator: Andrea Stegmaier

Andrea Stegmaier loves to make books. As a kid she made books for her dolls, later she made books for her kids, and now she makes books for everyone. She went to university to study architecture, but that’s a different story. Andrea lives with her family in Stuttgart, a busy town in Germany.

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The search for the perfect rooster to save a struggling farm from chaos will leave readers howling—and trying out their very best cock-a-doodle-doo!


A farm.

Bucolic beauty, barns, and…sleepy animals everywhere?

This farm needs a rooster, and Cow is determined to find the perfect candidate.

One rooster, who wakes up first thing in the morning, with a resounding cock-a-doodle-do—is that too much to ask?


This tale of a frenzied farm and the beleaguered cow trying to keep it all together packs more than laughs. As each enthusiastic candidate learns: roostering isn’t what you are, but what you do. And there’s room for everyone.

As long as they wake up early—er, I mean brew strong coffee—or is it press the big button?—oh never mind. All are welcome!



~Author Chat~


YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

At some point in 2012, I rewatched the Monty Python skit where John Cleese is interviewing Graham Chapman for a management training position, and the interview questions get more and more ridiculous. He’s ringing a bell and shouting, and Graham Chapman as the job candidate is increasingly confused. I love that sort of joke, where it builds and gets more absurd. Rewatching the sketch, I decided to try to write something with that energy, but on a farm, and the candidates are the ones getting more ridiculous. So it’s about a cow who is trying to find a new rooster for the farm, and the candidates start off barely qualified and get less and less so as the book goes on. Most of them aren’t even roosters.


YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

I love the last candidate, who is a green space blob. He is earnest and sincere, and Andrea Stegmaier, the illustrator, drew him as hilariously adorable. He’s so happy. He also keeps inadvertently absorbing various farm tidbits into his blobby self.


YABC: Which came first, the title or the book?

The concept came first, but then the title came very soon after. The help wanted sign that gets amended after each candidate – that was there from the very beginning. The structure of the book grew from that.


YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I wrote the first draft of this book in 2012, and it got a book deal in 2014. Over the next decade or so, I worked to refine the ending and the characters, and I kept working at writing in general. I wrote a lot of books. The most important thing I’ve learned is that writing is always hard and slow when I’m in it. Sometimes it’s delightful and illuminating, but it’s still hard and slow. But then I get to the end and it seems easy, hopefully to readers, but even to me. This book took a long time to get right, but from where I stand, it feels like nothing. It feels correct. Yes, of course it took that long. That’s as long as it had to take.


YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2024?

Ruth Chan, who has illustrated two books I wrote, has a graphic memoir called Uprooted coming out in September that I am so excited about.


YABC: What’s up next for you?

My next book is an epistolary picture book that comes out in September from Simon & Schuster. It’s called Chester Barkingham Saves the Country, and it’s illustrated by Eva Byrne. It’s about the president’s daughter adopting a dog, and that dog sees all the ways the government could be better behaved.


YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Definitely the rooster. I had the concept of interviews, and the help wanted sign, but I couldn’t figure out what the original farm rooster’s problem was. Why wasn’t he working as a rooster anymore? It took me years to figure it out.


YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

I try not to have my books have an overt message. As a reader, I’m always annoyed when there’s an obvious message in a book. I always feel like: what, you didn’t think I could figure this out? I feel that way about picture books but also about novels for grownups. That said, several readers have commented on how nice it is that the rooster candidates are all being themselves and not pretending to be traditional roosters, and that works out for them in the end. I like that. It wasn’t my intention to say anything about being yourself, but I’m happy if people take that as a message.





Author: Julie Falatko

Illustrator: Andrea Stegmaier

Release Date: June 18, 2024

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Genre: Hardcover Picture Book

Age Range: 3-5

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