The Tent Mouse and the RV Mouse (Author Interview)




The Tent Mouse and The RV Mouse looks like a cute children’s book with beautiful illustrations.  Any plans to turn it into a series?
           
Thank you so much! Kathrine Gutkovskiy is a very talented illustrator, and I feel so blessed to have her on this project. Kathrine has created two of the cutiest mice characters ever in children’s literature. Whenever I read in classrooms, the children just love Thomas and Harvey and all their adventures.

Kathrine and I have talked about growing the story and the characters into a series. We were brainstorming ideas for a Halloween or Christmas book. At this stage, we only have ideas – but ideas are where all good stories start. 

Can you tell us a little about Thomas and Harvey?

My story was inspired by Aesop’s fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.” It was also inspired by Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse,” which also looks at two mice who prefer different things.

While these two classic stories focus on a debate between living in a town versus living in the country, my story centers around camping. While Thomas Tent-Mouse loves to camp in his tent where he feels connected to nature, his cousin Harvey RV-Mouse loves to camp in his RV where he feels safe. Adventure awaits these outdoor-loving cousins, as they learn that it’s okay to like different things.  


What inspired you when writing The Tent Mouse and The RV Mouse?   

My favorite time of the day is when I finally sit still on the couch, my children crowed around me, reading a picture book. We delight in the words and the images. We delight in being together. I see their eyes sparkle, hear their laughter, feel them snuggle a little closer.

Children’s books are simply magical, and I want to be part of that magic! I want to be among the authors whose stories I love. I want to create new stories, dream up characters, write books worthy of snuggling on couches.

How did you come up with the story in The Tent Mouse and The RV Mouse?

We are avid campers, spending as much of the summer as we can exploring nature and camping in our RV. I have noticed over the years, that there seems to be a division between those who choose to camp in tents and those who choose to camp in RVs.  It reminded me of “The Town Mouse and the Counry Mouse” story. The idea was planted, and it grew into this book.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Tent Mouse and The RV Mouse?

In the great “Tent vs. RV” debate, I didn’t want to give more weight to one side, but wanted to present the two camping styles as equally good options.  I used to camp in a tent when I was younger, and I have great memories from these times. I now camp in an RV, and I love it!  I’m an RV Mouse for sure, but I didn’t want my current preference to come through in the book. Knowing my personal biasis, I took care choosing my words so that they did not lean one way or the other, but let the reader see the two camping styles as simply differences of opinions, and see that it’s okay to like different things.  

What do you like to do when not writing?

I’m a starter of many projects but a finisher of few. It’s something that drives my husband a bit crazy but keeps him entertained.  Bees are a particular love of mine, and I am currently working to turn our suburban landscape in to a pollinator garden. Come on spring!!! Other interests include stained glass, knitting, hiking, and of course reading. Is there anything better than a great book?

Where can readers find out more about your work?

Readers can find us online at www.KidsCampingBooks.com. We recently developed a free downloadable Discussion & Activity Guide for "The Tent Mouse and the RV Mouse."  Our goal was to offer teachers, parents, and homeschool parents a way to extend the story. The guide is Common Core State Standards-Aligned and designed for Grades K-1. It features the following:

•           Pre-Reading Discussion
•           Post-Reading Discussion
•           Compare & Contrast Foldable
•           Word Games
•           Instruction Cards
•           Word Cards
•           Word Search & Word Search Answers

•           Common Core State Standards Alignment

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