I know. You’re still stuck at home. I’m with you.

But also…NOT with you. I’m in my home, without you.

So I’m glad to be talking about A CROWDED FARMHOUSE FOLKTALE today. It’s all about the home!

Author Karen Rostoker-Gruber is here (again, not really here) to tell us why is this tale is so appealing for our difficult times.

In my book, Farmer Earl has had enough! His home is too crowded! So, he visits the wise woman in town for help. She tells him to bring all his ducks in the house. And then all his horses. And all his goats too! How will there be more room with all these animals?

Once Farmer Earl follows the wise woman’s advice, he comes to realize that his crowded house was really not as bad as he originally thought.

Eureka, Farmer Earl! That’s a very wise wise woman.

The timing of this tale couldn’t be more perfect as people are stuck inside during COVID. Living quarters are being shared with families—24/7—with no breaks. Parents are working from home, kids are remote-learning, and a lot of people are getting frustrated. Computers can’t even take it anymore as they’re crashing as well.

We need to appreciate our homes, now that we’re spending so much time inside them.

Plus, this book has a toilet paper scene—very COVID—which really quacks me up!  See the duck?

Kristina Swarner, the illustrator for this book, did a wonderful job adding humor to each spread.

I asked my editor if Kristina could make the duck on the front cover of the book take a bite out of the letter “A” in the word “FOLKTALE,” since the duck stood soooo close to the words anyway on the top of the roof.  That was my contribution to the art.

If you look closely at some of the illustrations, the cats in the book are NOT amused with all of the ducks, horses, and goats coming into the house and wreaking havoc—typical of cats. It’s those tiny things that Kristina did that elevated my writing and made me laugh-out-loud.

Because this book is basically about being thankful for what you do have, I had Dawn Kiron, a social worker, write a teacher’s guide, which focuses on gratitude: how to keep a gratitude journal and jar/box and how to be thankful for the things that you do have.

OK, so Karen, let’s practice what you preach. What are you grateful for?

Hah! I’m grateful that an editor liked another one of my manuscripts enough to offer me a contract. This will be my 16th traditionally-published book. I’m very grateful for that, too.

These days publishing is tough and extremely competitive. Literally everyone (grandmothers, celebrities, and apparently cats) are writing books for children.

If you thought the publishing process was S L O W  BC (before COVID) wait until you try and submit now. However, there’s a conference that is virtual this year, which was the best conference that I had ever been to—The RUCCL One-On-One Plus Conference. Two of my manuscripts were signed up as a result of the editors that I met there.

Up until this year, an applicant was accepted into the conference depending on their writing ability (by submitting a sample manuscript.) This year EVERYONE is invited to attend.

If you want to get published then. . .get out of bed, walk to your computer on October 24th, and log in!  No more excuses!

Thanks for the RUCCL plug, Karen! I’m actually co-chairing the event this year, which we’re calling the RUCCL “Home-to-Home” Conference because, well, we’re all stuck at home. However, gratefully so! (Info on this year’s event will be on the website in a day or two!)

A CROWDED FARMHOUSE FOLKTALE releases from Albert Whitman on October 1, so you can pre-order now.

Karen is also giving away a copy to a blog reader!

Leave one comment below to enter.

A random winner will be selected at the end of the month.

Good luck!