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Buglette Blog Tour + A Giveaway

An interview with the author, excerpts from this book, and giveaway information are included in the body of this post.

Buglette, the Messy Sleeper arrived at my doorstep about two weeks ago.  (Review copy provided by Tricycle Press.)  I was immediately drawn to the book for the fact that I was notorious for being a messy sleeper throughout my childhood.  Buglette, who is a bug, is a messy sleeper because she has BIG dreams each and every night.  Her dreams make her restless and cause her to mess up her space in the family’s tree.  Her messy sleeping would be all well and good if it weren’t for a crow Buglette’s family feared.

However, it was more than this little bug’s nighttime antics that made me fall in love with this book.  The illustrations are exquisite as they’re both bright and detailed.  The words the author,  Bethanie Deeney Murguia, uses to bring Buglette to life are noteworthy since this book can certainly be used to lift the level of vocabulary usage in young children’s writing.  In addition to its rich language usage, the climax of the story comes at the very end.  The resolution is swift, but complete, which makes it an excellent model for writers who are inclined to write THE END in large, swirly letters at the end of their writing (without actually wrapping their story up well).

I had some questions for author and illustrator Bethanie Deeney Murguia about her book, her work process, and a few other things.  Here’s a look at my interview with her.

STACEY:  Tell me more about the inspiration for this story.  Are you a messy sleeper who was made fun of by others in your family (Oh wait, that was me growing up!) or did this story come from your imagination?

BETHANIE:  I am the neat sleeper in a family of messy sleepers. The “messy sleeping” concept has been in the back of my mind for as long as I’ve had to make messy beds in my house. More than once, I’ve (rhetorically) asked my daughter, “What do you do at night to mess up your bed like this?”

Probably somewhat out of frustration and somewhat out of jealousy (was I missing out by NOT being a messy sleeper?), I came up with the idea that the messy sleepers were having big dreams. Then I began to think about the possibilities for storytelling and character development through dreams. It took off from there.

STACEY:  What came first: the writing or the art?

BETHANIE:  I keep a “seed” notebook filled with things that catch my ear or eye: phrases, quirky behaviors, quick sketches of postures and so forth.

Once one of those seeds starts to grow, I usually begin with thumbnails. I think this is because I worked as a designer for many years. The thumbnails are primarily visual but they also have notes about the text. I map out some of the key spreads and action this way.

Bits of dialogue and text may accompany this stage. Once I’m comfortable that the thumbnails are fitting into a picture book format, I write the text. So, I suppose the answer is that the idea comes first and then it tumbles out of my head in a mess of words and sketches.

STACEY:  I have a new baby who I often talk to like a nine year-old (I guess that’s what happens when you taught elementary school!).  Therefore, I appreciated some of the glorious, descriptive phrases like “pillow teetered overhead,” “thrashed about,” and “flurry of feathers.”  What made you select such vivid language even though your target audience is from ages 3 – 5?

BETHANIE:  I think a picture book is a wonderful place to introduce children to language in all its glory. My daughter (now five) has always repeated phrases from books; it is obvious that she delights in the rhythm or sounds of particular words, even if she doesn’t know the exact meaning. I am the same way. I try to choose words that build fun sentences. Often, the illustrations help to make the meanings of words more obvious. And because a picture book is a shared experience, a child can always ask the reader to define new words.

STACEY:  What inspired you to create a story about being different, dreaming big, and learning to be brave?

BETHANIE:  I knew that I wanted Buglette to be quirky (messy sleeper), imaginative (big dreams) and powerful (brave). That is the type of character that I gravitated toward as a child. I still do. I think the world can always use more strong, creative, non-stereotypical female characters.

STACEY:  What’s next for you?

BETHANIE:  I am working on a picture book for Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic (Summer 2012) and a companion book to Buglette that will be published by Knopf in 2013.

Here are some wonderful spreads, which include some of the rich phrases I questioned Bethanie about (above), from Buglette:

Permission to run this image was provided by Tricycle Press.
Permission to run this image was provided by Tricycle Press.

Giveaway Information:

  • Thank you to Tricycle Press for agreeing to sponsor a giveaway of one copy of Buglette, the Messy Sleeper, as well as five special “DO NOT DISTURB: Messy Sleeping in Progress” door hangers.

  • To win a copy of the book or one of the door hangers please leave a comment about this post, in the comments section of this post by Thursday, May 26th by 11:59 p.m. EST. A random drawing will take place on Sunday, May 29th.  The winners’ names will be announced in a blog post later that day.

  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address and have my contact at Tricycle Press ship the book or the door hanger out to you.  Please note: Your e-mail address will not be published online.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

22 thoughts on “Buglette Blog Tour + A Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. Messy sleeping. Definitely my daughter. Always looks like she’s run a race in the night. Mind you, she’s also the arty one of the family!

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  2. This sounds like such a great book, and so appropriate for my own messy little sleeper. I go in to check on him at night and find pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and usually, books all over the bed.

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  3. How cute! I’ve always been a messy sleeper, and this book would make a great mentor text when it comes to descriptive text and showing, not telling. Seeds…like the ones being planted in our minds while we read about this book.

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  4. I’m a neat sleeper…hardly can tell I slept in the bed, but I like the idea of messy sleeping. I love the name, too, and your interview. Seeds! So appropriate for spring.

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  5. Thank you everyone for your kind comments and thank you Stacey for your great interview questions. They were fun to answer!!

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  6. I love finding out about new books that I can use in my classroom, particularly in my writing class. Sounds like a book my kids will really relate to.

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  7. There are so many ideas that can be used in the book, most especially to me is that a wonderful idea can be created from the smallest of seeds. I like the idea of those seeds being collected, & then carried further so a seed might grow into something both beautiful to see and to use.

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  8. OMG, I thought my son was the only messy sleeper out there. I am amazed that he’s able to find his way out of the tangled mess he makes when sleeping. This book sounds like a gem and a perfect mentor text for writer’s workshop. The illustrations are stunning as well. Great descriptive text, a strong story to tell, and an amazing presentation…the whole package. Thank you for sharing. I must get myself a copy.

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  9. This interview with the author reminds me as a writer what can evolve from the simplest things in life, I need to collect more seeds on a daily basis. I also like the tip that because children like the rhythm of words, “bigger” words can make their way into the minds of the young quite easily. I love the name “Buglette!” I also love the drawing of Buglette’s leaf bed with all its belongings!! You got me, Bethanie!!

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  10. Love this book already! Thanks for the insights from the author as well. It’s always interesting to get the “behind the scenes” thoughts! I also love that she has a “seed” notebook — so clever and a great analogy to use with kids! The language, rich vocabulary, storyline, and illustrations all make this book worth a look! As Elsie said, if I don’t win, I will be searching for this book in the bookstore!

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  11. What a fun concept, messy sleeping! Thanks for sharing a new book with such powerful language and thank you Tricyle Press for a give away. If I don’t win, I will be looking for it in the bookstores.

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  12. I can’t wait to purchase a copy of this book. I am going to share this with my daughter, who always has a messy bed that includes books under pillows and lots of stuffed animals.

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  13. How fun! I too, have one very messy sleeper at my house– we always say she must run in her sleep. She happens to be the writer of the family, so maybe she is dreaming BIG! (Her hair has a party every night as well!)
    Thanks for sharing!

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