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That One Cracks Me Up!!!

T C Bartlett Author Interview

Eat, Eat, Eat! Cheese, Cheese, Cheese! is the cautionary tale of three hungry mice who encounter a hungry cat in a cheese store. What was the inspiration for your story?

The Eat, Eat, Eat! Cheese, Cheese, Cheese! story is interesting because I started the drawings in high school, and now 52 years later, I finally finished the pencil drawings and book design for publication. On average, some of my picture books take a year or two to complete. But then again, it all depends on the illustration style I use. Two other picture books of mine, It’s Music Time, and You Can’t Tickle Me, the illustrations took five years to do.

I actually started the drawings for my cheese story as an art class project in high school. When I graduated high school, I had created only three illustrations. And at that time, I wasn’t thinking of any story to go with the drawings. During the course of the past 52 years, every now and then, I would pull out the illustrations and would work on a new drawing. It took me two to three months to do one drawing for this story.

Seven years ago, I finally figured out the storyline. And seven years later (actually 52 years later), the story and illustrations were finished and ready to be made into Eat, Eat, Eat! Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!

I loved the illustrations for this picture book, they are creative and entertaining. What was your favorite scene to illustrate in this story?

That is such a difficult question to answer. It is impossible for me to pick a favorite illustration for any of my picture books. But the one that took the longest in this story is the very first drawing in the book with the three cheese-hungry mice sailing a cheese boat. The one that makes me really laugh is the one with the cat wearing her big glasses. That one cracks me up!!!

I will say this, as much as I love drawing my stories, I love designing the book just as much!

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

The central theme is the consequences we must face when we overindulge. Most times, too much of a good thing is just that, too much of a good thing. But it always amazes me after I write a story all the different learning aspects that will come to light.

Will you be writing more picture books with a message like this one?

That’s another excellent question. I never know what my next picture book will be like or what message it will develop from the writing. All I know is an idea will always find a way to inspire me to do another picture book.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

A tale of three mice who learn that their obsession with cheese can have unforeseen consequences.

But when the cat, Gourmet, gives up a perfectly good dish of cat food for the chase of fresh mice, she finds that she too must deal with specific consequences.

In Some Faraway Magical Land

T C Bartlett Author Interview

The String follows an ordinary young boy who discovers an ordinary ball of string and uses it to go on adventures with his imagination. What was the inspiration for your story?

That’s a great question. I was reading my picture book, It’s Music Time, to a 1st-grade class at one of our local elementary schools where I live in Brown County, Indiana. I say reading, but it’s really a near-wordless picture book with 15 words at the beginning and 15 at the end. Anyway, as I flipped through the pages, one little boy in the class had a small hand-sized rubber ball he was playing with. The teacher quickly took it away from him, but I could tell by the look on his face that he was in some faraway magical land playing with his rubber ball and didn’t like it at all that he was brought back to reality by the teacher.

The very next weekend, I was thinking about that little boy’s expression, and I knew all he wanted to do was play in his imaginary world with his rubber ball. So I looked through the drawers in my kitchen cupboard, and the first thing I saw was an orange ball of nylon string. And it hit me all at once. At that very moment, I knew exactly what the little boy in my story would do with that string.

​The art in this book is fantastic. What was the process like to create the art while writing the story at the same time?

Sometimes I will do a drawing and become inspired to write a story because of that drawing. My young adult novel, The Good Witch of the South, was like that. When I first gazed upon the fairy that I used for the front cover of my novel, I knew she was the daughter of the Good Witch of the South and knew precisely what she would become in that story.

My String book was different. When I first saw the ball of string, I sat down and wrote the story while catching glimpses of illustrations in my head as I was writing.

Once I finished the manuscript, I started the illustrations. Once the drawings were completed, I did a small dummy of the book. From there, I changed some of the text and added a couple of new drawings. For example, in the original manuscript, the little boy didn’t use the string, or his sister, to pull a loose tooth. He didn’t have a loose tooth. But when I made my dummy, I needed to add more illustrations and decided to add a loose tooth to the text. And that made the illustration of the little boy brushing his teeth funnier. All in all, it took over a year to write, draw and put the book together.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

One of the best ways to discover what we will become when we are children is by using our imagination. Children love to pretend to be this or that. Mostly, I want children to know they can be extraordinary in every way. All they have to do is try. When children see the little boy in my book doing all the amazing things he can think of doing with his ball of string, it is my hope it will inspire children to take flight with their imagination.

Who knows what extraordinary things they might achieve?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Oh yes, my next book . . . I am incredibly excited about my next book, which will come out in 2024. The title is, That Will Never Do. It’s taken me over a year to do the illustrations for this book, just like The String.

I have to say, though, That Will Never Do might actually be one of my favorites.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

How far does your imagination go?

And if your imagination used a string, what could you do with that string?

There is only one way to find out and that is to read this book, The String, and follow the adventures of one very imaginative little boy.

The String

A young boy was having a normal ordinary day when he discovered a ball of string. There is nothing magical or special about this string. However, when he ties the string to his finger, he remembers to do his chores, wear his helmet, do his homework, and brush his teeth. Then the boy uses the string to do fun things like walk the dog and fly a kite. It isn’t long before he imagines all the fun and exciting adventures he can go on with his string. What started as a simple ordinary string became an extraordinary source of imagination and inspiration for many great adventures.

The String, written and illustrated by T.C. Bartlett, is a whimsical picture book about a boy and how he discovers all the fun he can have using his imagination and a piece of string. The illustrations are humorous and engaging, taking young readers on a journey with the boy to discover all the uses for his newly found string. I loved the creative uses for such a simple object. No magic or mystery was involved, just one active imagination and willingness to see what could happen. This is an important lesson for kids, a chance to grow their minds with simple things in a world where electronics seem to rule the entertainment industry. Yet, this incredible story shows that something so simple and common can provide hours of enjoyment and use.

The String is a beautifully written children’s book that teaches children to look for wonder in simple everyday objects. It teaches them to use their imagination to find things to explore their world. This is a beautiful book for preschool and kindergarten children to read and open up discussions of exploring their environment to make the most of what is around them each day.

Pages: 48 | ISBN : 1733908676

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