I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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“Bon Book Anniversaire” to PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE + 4 Qs for Katelyn Aronson

May 22, 2021

Katelyn Aronson and PIGLETTE are back in Paris with a fun sequel, PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE, (Viking), once again with wonderful art by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Eva Byrne.

This Piglette story takes place in a posh Paris patisserie,

where Piglette is determined to make the most perfectly pleasing cake for Madame Paradee’s party.

Time for a Book Birthday Blog Party.

D’accord, mes amis?

And we have questions for author Katelyn Aronson!

Katelyn Aronson

Q 1. As a former perfectionist (most of the time…), I appreciate Piglette’s PERFECT Surprise so much! What do you hope young readers will take away from the book?

Katelyn Aronson: Oh, Erin, you and me both! I am a reformed perfectionist, and am still trying to loosen up after all these years. (I’ve been pretty hard on myself all throughout life.) What I really hope young readers take away from Piglette’s second adventure is that perfectionism does not always help one to flourish.

Since Piglette is always striving for “perfection,” it was important to me to show her coming to terms with the not-so-pretty side of her own perfectionism. Of course, a drive for excellence is a good thing! But only when it is accompanied by self-love, acceptance, and an ability to embrace reality when it falls short of perfection. There is happiness to be found in giving one’s best rather than necessarily achieving the best.

Q 2. Many readers may not realize that you live in Switzerland—(or is it France?) Where are you from originally and how did you wind up abroad?

Katelyn Aronson: The answer is: both! I actually divide my time between both countries. During the week, I work as a language teacher for international schools in Switzerland, and though I technically live in France, I’m on the Franco-Swiss border.


How I originally came to France in the first place is the stuff of storybooks. At least, I see it that way! I was born and raised in southern California, and in my early twenties, I worked as manager of an independent children’s bookstore. At the time, Random House announced a bookstore window display contest featuring their audio book collection. To enter, you had to decorate your bookstore’s front window based on the theme—“travel”—and feature Random House audio books. The opportunity absolutely fired my imagination, and I remember staying after work in the evening just to design my window, hoping against hope that I’d have a chance at the grand prize: an all-expenses paid trip to Paris!

Months later, a phone call from New York took me totally by surprise: I HAD WON THE GRAND PRIZE! I’ll never forget that moment. (I have since lost all photographic evidence of my window display, but I seem to remember some kind of model plane swooping in and an oversized postcard from France in the background.) That spring, I enjoyed a view of the Eiffel Tower from my 5-star hotel room, just like in the movies. This may have been the inspiration for the Palace hotel in Piglette 2! I guess it’s no surprise that I moved to France permanently a few years later. It also seems appropriate that I now have several books coming out with Penguin Random House—ha! Life can feel so “random” sometimes, but occasionally, things come together in the most magical way.

Illustration/ interior by Eva Byrne from PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE by Katelyn Aronson (Viking).

Q 3. Which of the following French pastries best describes your path to publication or your writing journey?

a.     éclair ( translation: “lightning” or “flash of lightning”)

b.     cannelé (fluted, or shall we say “grooved.”)

c.      financier ($$$)

d.     madeleine (My definition: “In an old house in Paris…” or perhaps pleurer comme une madeleine /cry like a baby?)

e.     C’est du gâteau – ( “piece of cake”)

f.       ____________ your choice

Katelyn Aronson: A few of these French creations are very time-consuming to make, so in that way they definitely resemble a typical writing career! But for my personal path to publication, I’m going to choose f. my own choice = crêpes. That’s because after you whip up crêpe batter, you have to let it “repose” on a shelf in the fridge a while before actually making your crêpes. The process reminds me of so many points in my writing career: I’ve often been hungry and eager for things to take shape. And yet, I’ve had to put manuscripts on a shelf and wait patiently, when I would much rather just heat up that griddle and get cooking! I’m sure others can relate.

ED note: Absolutely. YES to this. I have several manuscripts in “repose” at the moment. I always say the hardest part about writing children’s books is the WAITING.

Q 4. What is your absolute favorite spread of PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE and are you at liberty to show it here?

Katelyn Aronson: I’m indebted to New York Time’s #1 Bestselling illustrator Eva Byrne for making this latest Piglette installment truly mouthwatering! I love this spread of Chef Pistache tutoring Piglette in the art of pâtisserie –making. I wish I could be there in the kitchen with them!

Illustration/ interior by Eva Byrne from PIGLETTE’S PERFECT SURPRISE by Katelyn Aronson (Viking).

Katelyn Aronson: There is also one more spread of the book that I especially adore, since it is the very first vertical spread in a picture book of mine. I won’t show it here, as it is a climactic point in the book that I’d like readers to discover for themselves. But I am pretty excited to have a scene in my book that requires readers to turn the book on its side. Those surprise vertical tilts are a feature I’ve always enjoyed in picture books, and it feels special to have one in a book of my own.

Merci beaucoup to Katelyn Aronson for joining us for this Book Birthday Blog Party today.

And there’s a virtual Launch Party coming up on May 29th, 10:30 am CT, hosted by Mystery to Me bookstore!

Sign up here for PIGLETTE AND KATELYN’S scrumptious story time on Crowdcast.

To learn more about Katelyn Aronson and her books, follow her on Twitter: @MademoiselleK8

Instagram: authorkatelyn

and check out her author page.

Coming soon: More Book Birthday Blog Parties and Q&As with authors like Stef Wade, JaNay Brown-Wood, and Christine Van Zandt.

Also…I may have NEW BOOK CONTRACT news to share!!!!!

(That’s all I can say for now….)

What were we saying about waiting?

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