Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 7, 2018

Book Giveaway: HELLO DOOR by Alastair Heim

Alastair Heim has a new book, HELLO DOOR. A few weeks ago, he mailed me a copy. I have to say, it is an extremely cute and funny story featuring a delightful, sneaky fox. The wonderful illustrations created by Alisa Coburn are the icing on the cake and add to the readers enjoyment of the story. The simple text will encourage children to read on their own.

He has agreed to give away a copy to one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In Hello, Door, kids can follow a thieving fox as he greets everything he sees in a home that isn’t his.

Hello, door.

Hello, house.

Hello, mat.

Hello, mouse!

In this ode to the classic “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story, kids can follow a thieving fox as he greets everything he sees in a home that isn’t his. He collects fine art and jewelry, practices his golf swing, and devours a tasty snack along the way. But just when he thinks he’s in the clear to leave with all the goods, the owners of the house-a mama bear, papa bear, and baby bear-come home. They chase him through the house, and when the mama bear catches him she promptly throws him out. But she throws him so far that he ends up in a much nicer neighborhood-in front of a mansion, in fact-where he can begin his mischievous adventure again!

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

I have a small journal full of book titles that I have been adding to since I first started trying to write children’s picture books back in 2008.  My process is such that I usually think of a book title first and then come up with a story for it.   Over the past ten years, I have tried to come up with one new title, at least, every single day.  I try to stay disciplined about it because it serves as a simple way for me to be creative – especially if I’m not working on a manuscript.  And while not every title I come up with is a winner (most of them are not), every once in a while, I pluck something out of the ether that feels worthy of pursuit.

Back in the summer of 2012, I was staring out of a window, journal in hand, trying to think of picture book titles.  There were several titles I thought of that day – none of them all that good.  I was about to give up, when suddenly, a title worth pursuing finally hit me:  HELLO, DOOR.  It came out of nowhere, but it was fun, simple and had a nice ring to it (doorbell pun, intended).  I did a quick Google search to see if anyone had written a story called HELLO, DOOR and, much to my luck, no one had.  So, I wrote it down in my idea journal and started trying to think up a story for it.

Over the next year or so, I had lots of ideas about what HELLO, DOOR might be about, but none of them really stirred my soul in a way that motivated me to weave them into a manuscript.  Plus, I had continued to come up with hundreds of new story titles that were drawing my attention elsewhere.  And thus, HELLO, DOOR would have to sit patiently in the pages of my journal for three more years.

As I flipped back through the journal in the Spring of 2016, I spotted HELLO, DOOR once again.  But this time, inspiration struck – slowly at first…and then all at once.  I looked at the words and said, ”Hello, door!” out loud.  And then I said, “Hello, house!”  And then, I wondered to myself why someone would be saying “hello” to everything he sees.  Which is when the story finally hit me:  Someone is breaking into a house and saying “hello” to everything he sees…and steals.

From there, the story became about the sly, saucy Mr. Fox (or “Foxy” as the illustrator lovingly calls him).  Foxy starts out in front of a beautiful Victorian house, looks for a key (“Hello, mat.”) only to find it missing, and then quickly sneaks around back and slips in through the kitchen window to start his debonair debauchery.

As he weaves his way through the main floor of the house (“Hello, sofa.  Hello, chairs”) and then up to the second floor (“Hello, mirror.  Hello, stairs.”), he leaves a path of destruction along the way – stealing what he wants and making a mess of all the rest.  He ultimately finds the prize of all prizes (“Hello, little jewelry box!”) and slides back down the elegant staircase (“Bye-bye, stairs.”) to make, what he thinks will be, a consequence free escape.

But, that’s the thing about life, isn’t it?  There are always consequences (“Bye-bye…BEARS!!!”) and Foxy quickly discovers that he robbed the wrong home.  But, Foxy is an optimistic fellow and, even after being forcefully ejectedfrom the home by Mama Bear, he lands in front of a much larger mansion, brushes himself off, and with a sly smile, considers the spoils that await inside.

When I sent the manuscript to my agent, she loved it and sent it off to my editor at Little Bee Books.  Much to my delight, she immediately saw a vision for it and recommended Alisa Coburn, the illustrator who created the artwork for my first book, LOVE YOU, TOO, to bring Foxy and his shenanigans to life.  Alisa, who lives in London, immediately set off researching homes around the city to find the inspiration she needed to bring the gorgeous house to life.

The book was released in January of 2018 and I have been truly humbled by the reaction to it.  Alisa Coburn put so much love and heart into this book, that it comes to life on every page. She did an incredible job bringing Foxy to life and weaving visual clues, large and small, into the narrative to give the reader a sense of whose house he was actually trying to rob.

The funniest thing about writing HELLO, DOOR, though, is that I didn’t even realize I had written a retelling of GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS until my publisher, Little Bee Books, had pointed it out to me.  I just thought I had written a fun little story about a fox with a big nerve.  Regardless of my own unawareness of what I was actually writing, I truly hope readers find my homage to the classic tale just as irresistible and fun as I intended Foxy’s folly be.

ALASTAIR’S BIO:

Alastair Heim writes children’s picture books. He lives in Missouri with his awesomely, awesome family who inspires him everyday.  Laughter is his favorite sound, purple is his favorite color, and other-people-cooking-for-him is his favorite food.  He is a huge fan of music and has been known to play the guitar with impeccable mediocrity.

He started writing picture books because of his kids – plain and simple. After experiencing the joy, laughter and wondrous awe picture books brought them (and still continue to), he thought that there would be nothing cooler than to see that same reaction come from one of Daddy’s stories.  And he says, “Boy, was I right.  I’m grateful, everyday, for getting to write these books and hope that, at the very least, one of mine puts a smile on your kid’s faces, too.”

Thank you Alastair for sharing your book and its journey with us. It is such a fun book. I am sure the winner will be happy to add it to their bookshelves.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. OMG this looks absolutely delightful. I cannot wait to open The DOOR!

    Like

  2. Alastair: Love the concept and how the simple, rhyming text opens up a broader story conveyed through illustrator. How funny that you didn’t know you were writing a retelling! Sounds like divine inspiration to me. I’m excited to read it.

    Like

  3. This looks like such a clever, fun book! I absolutely love that …BEARS?!? spread – there’s so much to look at in the illustrations.

    Like

  4. I love doors – they open to such possibilities. And I really love the idea of scribbling down a title a day. Can’t wait to read Alastair’s fun tale of misadventure.

    Like

  5. This book looks hilarious! I love how the title developed into such a wonderful romp with a thieving fox (who seems totally unrepentant). Can’t wait to read this one!

    Like

  6. I love Alasastair’s books! He is also from my home state and super nice. I shared on Facebook and Twitter!

    Like

  7. What a clever story. I’m looking forward to reading it and getting a look at the illustrations. Love that your editor saw something that you didn’t realize was there!

    Like

  8. Ooh, hadn’t seen this one yet. It has a Goodnight Moon quality to it with the naming of the items. Thanks for sharing this one, Alastair and Kathy!

    Like

  9. Agree with the unconcious nod to Goodnight Moon, too… The rhythm underscores the classic feel, but the plot, Goldilocks or no, seems so unique and the illustration marriage is just lovely! It is also a good choice for supporting new readers, in the main. This is definately one I’d buy.

    Like

  10. This looks and sounds delightful. It would be fun to own a copy. I tweeted and shared this on FB.

    Like

  11. Okay, this looks BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to read it!

    Like

  12. This looks fun! I just read The Great Puppy Invasion and laughed throughout – those big puppy eyes! This looks just as clever!

    Like

  13. Looks gorgeous, sounds delightful! On my list now…

    Like

  14. Alastair, the story behind your story sounds as wonderful as the story itself (a little tongue twister for you). Congratulations!

    Like

  15. What a fun book! Totally irresistible. Please enter my name in the draw.
    I’ve pinned an image with a link on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772145126327/, and tweeted a link as well.
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!

    Like

  16. This book is insanely gorgeous! His style is so beautiful!

    Like

    • That is, the artwork of illustrator Alisa Coburn is so beautiful!

      Like

  17. This book looks so charming! I can’t wait to read it!!

    Like

  18. Tweeted!

    Like

  19. What a clever book. Amazing illustrations, too. Can’t wait to get a copy!

    Like

  20. I LOVE the idea of this book!

    Like

  21. This book looks WONderful! 😀

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: