You can alpha-bet that I’m P-U-M-P-E-D to be a stop on the ALPHABEDTIME Blog Tour! As a matter of fact, Frog on a Blog is the final stop of the tour, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome author Susanna Hill and illustrator Betsy Snyder here to wrap things up in a super enjoyable way!
Make sure you read the whole post because there’re lots of goodies to explore, including Susanna and Betsy’s fun, informal interview; an adorable, printable craft project for use at home or school; an awesome example of one of Betsy’s sketches with the finished illustration; Susanna’s very first book ever; and, last but not least, a giveaway of their fabulous new book Alphabedtime! Let’s go!
This is the last stop on the ALPHABLOGTIME tour! If you’re just tuning in and want to know any of the “Creation of the Book” details about Susanna’s inspiration for the book, or how Betsy approached the monumental task of creating the art, please check back to some of the earlier stops on the tour, several of which covered those topics. If you’d like to know who instigated the Alpha-Mayhem, then By Word Of Beth is the stop for you! If you are looking for activities to go with the book, they can be found at Maria Marshall’s and Laura Sassi’s. For some delicious Alphabet Cookie recipes, Little Red Story Shed with Julie Abery is the place you want to go. All the links can be found at https://linktr.ee/alphabedtime.
But here and now we’re going to get down to the nitty-gritty, the bare bones, the essential inner-workings, and give you a sneak peek at the up-close-and-personal! Just who are Susanna and Betsy?
Are you ready? Yes!
Betsy: Blue—the color that makes me think of the ocean, my happy place.
Susanna: Cornflower blue – so pretty!
What was the first book you ever wrote/illustrated and how old were you?
Betsy: I don’t remember the first “book”, but the first piece of art I remember illustrating as a child was one I titled The Invisible Lady With One Orange Leg (orange marker scribble on cardboard, age unknown). Clearly I was destined for greatness, ha!
Susanna: The Girl And The Witch (can you guess what it’s about? 🙂 ) I wrote it in 2nd grade. The decorative cover should make it clear why I do not illustrate my own books!
Favorite (bedtime) snack?
Betsy: Buttery popcorn!
Susanna: I’m not a bedtime snacker, but for a regular snack, my favorite is a Snickers bar and Diet Coke (I know! Dreadful! But favorite means special occasion – not something I do often. Er, not too often…)
Favorite quote from a children’s book?
Betsy: “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” – The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Susanna: “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” – E.B. White, last line of Charlotte’s Web
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Betsy: Either a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld, a soap opera writer, or an artist.
Susanna: I wanted to drive a steam roller and put my baby on the seat next to me.
What are 3 things people might not know about you? (or people might be surprised to learn?)
1. I was born in North Carolina.
2. I love to ice skate.
3. My name fits perfectly into the Itsy Bity Spider song (sing it—the itsy Betsy Snyder went up the water spout…)
1. I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee (if Alabama means New York City and banjo means piano…but I’d have to be Pippi Longstocking to actually have a piano on my knee…)
2. I know all the words to the 1970s Big Red chewing gum commercial. Also, to the Oscar Mayer jingle. . . and the Dial jingle. . . As well as the theme songs to The Love Boat, Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch. . . I could go on, but I don’t want to scare you TOO much! And I wasn’t even allowed to watch TV, except for PBS! (Of course, ask me for my ATM pin number and I have to look it up – there’s only so much real estate in the brain and mine is full of meaningless nonsense!)
3. I am a lot more comfortable with dogs and horses and cats than I am with people. I’m pretty sure I was one of those three animals in a past life because I love to bask in sun puddles. 🙂
Which characters in ALPHABEDTIME remind you most of your own children?
Betsy: S’s affinity for sharks and U running around in his underwear remind me of my spirited 5 year-old son—he has a way of making bedtime wild.
M’s magic makes me think of my 8 year-old daughter—she went through a phase where she practiced her tricks and put on magic shows.
And T’s T-Rex stuffy and Triceratops helmet are a nod to both of my dinosaur-loving kids.
Susanna: Okay. In the interest of maintaining positive relationships with my now grown children, I will not attribute names or genders to any of my choices. 🙂 But I’d say D (the noisy musician), K (the entertaining clown-around), F (the feather-boa-wearing reader), W (the quiet, serious, nonfiction reader), and Z (the dog-loving baby) grew up in my house!
Favorite stuffy/lovey as a child?
Betsy: Mr. Bear, a big stuffed polar bear that my grandma gave me. He definitely became REAL to me.
Susanna: Pink blankie
Do you have a pet, or is there a pet you wish you had?
Betsy: My family and I have a 5-month-old golden retriever puppy-monster named Penny—we adore her fluffy cuteness but fear her puppy teeth. My kids also have 2 goldfish named Golden Sun and Strawberry that are surprisingly still alive since being won at Home Days in August.
Susanna: I have two rambunctious young rescue dogs who came from bad beginnings and are still learning that the world doesn’t have to be a scary place. Their names are Finn and Violet, and if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve seen way more of them than you probably ever wanted to! I also have a spotted pony named Hoops who technically belongs to my daughter, but I have inherited her. Lucky me! 🙂
Betsy: “You do you.” I adopted this phrase after I first heard a close friend use it years ago (thanks Melissa Wolf!). It’s great advice for kids, but also for artists and writers, don’t you think?
Susanna: If you stir coconut oil into your kale, it makes it easier to scrape into the trash… 🙂 Oh. Did you mean a writing tip or advice? How about this: the joy of being a writer is that you can do anything. The story is yours. You are in charge. You can write happy or sad, quiet or exciting, mysterious or funny. Whatever mood you’re in, whatever you need in the moment, you can make it happen. And if it’s doing something good for you, it will do something good for someone who reads it.
On a more book-related note, we thought it would be fun to show you one of Betsy’s sketches together with the finished art so you could see how it transformed.
And Betsy also made a craft to go with the book, which you can use at home or in the classroom. You saw it here first, folks!
Was this a fabulous post or what? That’s a rhetorical question because of course it was fabulous! Thank you, Susanna and Betsy! But, just when you thought you couldn’t take any more fabulousness, you’ll have to hold onto something because we have a giveaway too!! The publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, has generously offered a copy of Alphabedtime to one lucky person. To win a copy of Alphabedtime, leave a comment on this post. A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, November 30. Susanna will send a personalized signed bookplate to go with it if the winner desires. This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Susanna L. Hill is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship, and the award-winning author of over twenty-five more books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis, Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, and the popular When Your Lion Needs a Bath series. Her books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Thai.
She does frequent school and library visits, teaches picture book writing, and has a popular picture book blog. Susanna lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley where she practices the alphabet with her children and two rescue dogs. Find Susanna online at https://susannahill.com.
Author-illustrator Betsy Snyder’s smile-inducing art can be found on everything from social expressions products, board games, plush, decor, fabric, wallpaper, and of course—books!
Since making her publishing debut, Betsy has illustrated and/or authored over twenty books, earning recognition from groups including the Society of Illustrators, The New York Times, Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine, Indie Next List, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center and Please Touch Museum. Betsy lives in northeast Ohio, where she enjoys cozying up to doodle with her art-loving family, and venturing out to schools and libraries to encourage kids (and even grown-ups) to share their stories and chase their dreams. Learn more about Betsy and her books at www.betsysnyder.com.