Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 23, 2021

Book Giveaway: CATERPILLAR’S SURPRISE by Janet Halfmann

Janet Halfmann has written a new picture book, CATERPILLAR’S SURPRISE, Illustrated by Emily Krueger Boon and published by Black Rose Writing. It will be available on December 2nd. Janet has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Janet and Emily.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A masquerade ball with a blue ribbon! Caterpillar dreams of winning, but wonders how she can since she is just a baby. Tadpole convinces her that her natural baby disguise as bird poo is perfect.

As Caterpillar grows, her look changes, and she worries again. Tadpole tells her she now looks like a scary snake, and is sure to win! Then . . . just weeks before the ball, Caterpillar spins a chrysalis and hangs unmoving from her tree. Now, even Tadpole (who is changing into a frog) is worried.

Will Caterpillar break out of her chrysalis in time? And if she makes it to the ball, will she still think winning is the most important thing of all?


Caterpillar’s Surprise got its start about twenty years ago. I have long been fascinated by butterflies, which flit around our backyard and gardens every summer. So I wrote a lyrical nonfiction story titled A Day with a Butterfly. The story got a couple nice notes from editors, but no acceptance.

Then a few years later I saw a request from a small publisher for natural science picture books spotlighting animals of the eastern United States. I decided the eastern tiger swallowtail would be a great critter to feature because it’s very popular in this region and rarely the star of a butterfly book.

So I researched tiger swallowtails—which had many amazing caterpillar and butterfly traits all their own—and incorporated some of my original butterfly story in the new one. This new story, still nonfiction, became Tiger Swallowtails in the Sun.

After months of back and forth with this publisher, my story didn’t get a go-ahead. But the next year it got a bit of a nod from an editor I’d worked with before who suggested that it might be fun to add a frog and have both the butterfly and frog go through metamorphosis together in a fictional story.

This new story became Caterpillar’s Surprise—with a masquerade ball and coveted blue ribbon, featuring a caterpillar and tadpole who become friends and share adventures as they go through big changes together. In the end, the new story didn’t win a slot on this editor’s list either.

I continued to submit the story from time to time, and got a few other nice comments. I felt the story had promise so I kept fine- tuning it, including having it critiqued at some writers conferences.

Then in 2017, my hometown of Milwaukee got a new publishing company, and its owner/editor loved Caterpillar’s Surprise! She and I seemed to be on exactly the same page. We tweaked the story some to have all the changes/disguises of animals at the masquerade ball be true to life rather than just fun costumes. Emily Krueger joined the project as illustrator, giving the characters fun and captivating personalities. The book’s editing and art were well on their way when the publishing company had to fold for financial reasons. Major disappointment, to say the least!

What to do now? The rights reverted to Emily and I, so I asked her if she was okay with me looking for a publisher that wanted stories that included the art. We got an acceptance from Black Rose Writing in late 2020.

In addition to doing the cover and inside art, Emily also chose the text font, placed the copy, and formatted the book. That worked extremely well for us as we finished the book because once I could see the copy with the pictures, I could cut and tailor it to work even better with the art.

It’s been a long journey, but I feel Caterpillar’s Surprise has so much to offer its young listeners and readers. It is not only the amazing story of metamorphosis and other animal disguises, but also the story of a friendship, the adventures of growing up, and the importance of treasuring your friends. It’s been a long journey, but a very worthwhile one!



Author Janet Halfmann is an award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. She has written more than forty fiction and nonfiction books, many about animals and nature.

Previously, Janet was a newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring & activity books. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Find out more at


Illustrator Emily Krueger is from Esko, near Duluth, Minnesota. She grew up loving the outdoors, animals, and drawing, and graduated from Bemidji State University majoring in Fine Arts and Graphic Technology. She lives in the woods with her husband Steve, kids Otto and Liv, dog Taavi, and the occasional bear. Although she enjoys oil painting, colored pencil, and mixed media for personal work, she often creates her illustrations digitally with her drawing tablet and Photoshop. Find out more at

Janet, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. The life cycle of a butterfly is a fascinating story to tell. I look like you along with Emily have done a wonderful job tell that story with interesting text and illustrations. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a *surprise* in my inbox this morning. Such a cute book. good luck to you all! [Newsletter subscriber.]


  2. Very cute! I love how both of the MCs are going through a transformation and just in time for the ball! Congratulations!

    Sharing on Twitter and I follow by email. 🙂


  3. Sounds like a great book! Well done on finding a home for it. That’s a terrific story about the story. Best of luck with it!


    • Will share to social media later on!


  4. This looks so cute! I would love to be a lucky winner!


  5. Thanks for sharing your story’s journey, Janet. What a wonderful way to show metamorphosis. And Emily’s illustrations are great. Congratulations to you both!


  6. Congratulations, Janet and Emily! The book looks adorable and I’m glad it finally made its debut in the world! I shared on Twitter and follow your post daily, Kathy!


  7. What a great story and backstory. I tweeted, FB’d and pinned!


  8. Thanks for an interesting post. The book looks really sweet. I subscribe to your blog.


  9. Congratulations on this very cute book! I can’t wait to read it! (And I subscribe to the blog.) Happy Thanksgiving!!


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