Day 2: Introducing Kidlit Agent Adriann Ranta Zurhellen
I have a cat named Piggy, so I was predisposed to love a book originally called “The Ultimate Pig Care Handbook.” Cyndi’s sense of humor, which comes across in her text and art and also in the little details, totally won my heart: the little muddy pig footprints, the extremely skeptical pig expressions, the increasingly dirty children…all so fun!
Did you work together to improve the manuscript before submitting it to editors?
This project started out as a picture book, and most of my original notes were regarding structure and pacing. In the first version, my note to her was that half of the text is about giving the pig a bath. I asked her is the book about pig care, or about bathing a pig? Cyndi then decided to make the whole book about finding a pig and keeping it clean, but then the joke seemed to sag about halfway through. Cyndi played around with it again. She reverted back to the general pig care theme and we had a great dummy that went on submission!
When thinking about who to submit LITTLE PIGGY to, why did you think of Karen Nagel, and what was Karen’s reaction when she received the draft?
I thought Karen would appreciate Cyndi’s fun sense of humor, and I admired the scope of her work at Aladdin. What a delightful surprise when Karen called to say she loved it… and asked if Cyndi would be interested in expanding it into an early-reader graphic novel for Pix? It’s rare to have an editor buy a project when such a large edit is on the horizon, but Cyndi had proven herself with KUNG POW CHICKEN and Karen had the vision for it! Once Cyndi said she was excited to move forward, we were thrilled to accept Karen’s offer!
What do you love about the end product of Cyndi's book, THIS LITTLE PIGGY: AN OWNER’S MANUAL?
I love how Cyndi developed the kids as characters, made a fun, twisty narrative around convincing their mom to accept a pig as a pet, and how the expansion from a picture book gave us more time with Snowflake’s adorable footprints and skeptical expressions! It’s such a fun book, full of cute, hilarious illustrations and awesome situational humor, and I think readers will really love it!
On what future projects are you looking forward to working together with Cyndi?
I would love to see more chapters books featuring Snowflake, especially if readers love her as much as I do!
Click the cover to purchase your copy of THIS LITTLE PIGGY: AN OWNER"S MANUAL, an Aladdin PIX illustrated chapter book for kids 6-9 that tells the tale of a brother and sister who—more than anything—want a pet pig, written and illustrated by Cyndi Marko, available in paper over board and as an ebook!