The DMS was lucky enough to interview Angela Mitchell, author of the children's book The Jelly That Wouldn't Wobble. We recently reviewed this uniquely silly story on Margo's Musings. It was fun to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, Angela!
|Children's Author, Angela Mitchell|
What inspired you to write The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble?
Princess Lolly as a character came first, then the party, then the jelly, then the problem! I thought of my own childhood and the copious amounts of jelly I consumed, and loved the idea that even in old age you could still enjoy jelly and ice cream at your birthday party. What readers will now discover is that the combination of jelly and ice cream actually started in Princess Lolly’s palace. This is a very important point to remember.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I wrote Jelly about four years ago. I would put it away for a few months, then return to it. Re-write, and re-write. Put it away again, and do the same thing. This is a good idea when doing homework – although you won’t have four years before you have to hand it in! Check, check and re-check, until it’s as good as you can make it.
What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
Ezra Jack Keats is my picture book writer/illustrator hero. He wrote and illustrated The Snowy Day, probably his most popular book. He was the first writer/illustrator to use an African-American child as the central character in a book. Something I love, and in Jelly, the smallest guest is of mixed heritage. Ezra's stories are so simple, his characters are so real and engaging, and yet they convey what is so human and identifiable in children. I love all his books. I read a lot of classic children’s fiction at junior school, such as, The Secret Garden, also Swallows and Amazons, obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia, loved Carrie’s War, The Pigman, The Owl Service, and The Young Visitors by Daisy Ashford. All books I would recommend to young readers.
What was your inspiration for Princess Lolly?
I didn’t want Princess Lolly to be a child. The smallest guest is a child, and I wanted him to be the hero. I loved that Lolly throws tantrums like a spoiled child and insists on a special jelly for her party, even at her great age! At the end when the jelly finally wobbles she is triumphant that the jelly can now be eaten - she is also a fair Princess, which is revealed at the end of the story. You get the feeling she is still a child at heart, and I hope it’s a feeling a lot of adults will be able to identify with too while reading it to their child.
How did you meet the illustrator, Sarah Horne?
I first met Sarah at the Maverick Book Lunch about two weeks ago! I felt very lucky, as the writer and illustrator don’t usually get to meet. Sarah is not only incredibly talented, but so lovely and unassuming. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with her illustrations. They are wonderful, quirky and really convey each character so brilliantly! I can’t imagine anyone else illustrating Jelly now. Sarah has really brought the story to life.
What is your favorite flavor of jelly?
Orange. It reminds me of my childhood. My mum would mix tins of fruit salad with the jelly, and we would have vanilla or tutti frutti ice cream or Carnation Milk with it! Yum. (Again, dear reader, please remember where the combination of jelly and ice cream originated.)
Will there be any more adventures for Princess Lolly and her hungry guests?
Possibly, if she throws enough tantrums…
Where can we purchase a copy of The Jelly that Wouldn’t Wobble?