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by Jill Esbaum

Thanks, Tara, for hosting my cover reveal for STINKBIRD HAS A SUPERPOWER!

Cover of ANGRY BIRDS PLAYGROUND: A cheetah on the prowl, surrounded by foliage, with the red angry bird at the top left and the yellow at the bottom right, with angry faces, looking on.This book idea was sparked by a work-for-hire project for National Geographic Kids, Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest. There I was, cramming my days with Amazon animal research, and … yeesh. Life in the Amazon is a big-time, bloody example of eat-or-be-eaten. And it was starting to get me down. (Maybe watching all those gobbledy-grisly videos wasn’t such a hot idea.)

But then a breath of fresh air blew in. The hoatzin. A leaf eater. A bird that bothers nobody, and nobody bothers it. Why? Because it smells to high heaven—like cow poop, thanks to its four-chambered, slow-mo digestive system. Golly, that cheered me up. Further research showed it to be a great singer (not), a great flyer (not), and a great nest-builder (um…). Best of all, their chicks have what might be called (if you’re me) a SUPERPOWER unlike any other bird in the whole entire world!

Well, how could I not play around with THAT idea? So I wrote an informational fiction manuscript from Papa Hoatzin’s POV.

A hoatzin standing on the top of a tree. He has spiky orange feathers at the top of his head, a turquoise patch around his eye area, and long grey-brown feathers around his body. Ugly thing.

And no editor got it.

In my 25 years of submitting, this manuscript actually holds the record for most rejections (so far *knock wood*). Hmm, maybe it was a little long. And, okay, a little over-written. But I’m stubborn, so, all along the way, I kept going back and tweaking. More rejections. Finally, I hit upon the idea of adding one of Papa’s chicks to the mix, making it funny, and WHEW, everything clicked.

A dream editor at Putnam snapped up my manuscript, had me tweak again, got the hilarious BOB SHEA to illustrate (I KNOW!), and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, here’s the cover:

Cover of STINKBIRD HAS A SUPERPOWER. Lettering in bold bubble letters with "Stinkbird" turquoiise, "has a" small and in pink, and "superpoower" in a neon-ish green. The stinkbird is stinkin' cute, a little birdie with purple body and large cartoon eyes with the turquoise patch around them. There are cuteness "stars" surrounding him as he prances on a white and grey branch, surrounded by large cartoon leaves and foliage.

STINKBIRD HAS A SUPERPOWER will release May 16th, 2023, to be followed in 2024 by the second book in the series, the equally amazing PARROTFISH HAS A SUPERPOWER. I am so proud of these books. Kiddos will love ’em and boy, will adults have fun reading them aloud.

Get your dibs in now, because this baby is available for PRE-ORDER!

Thanks, Jill! It looks SUPER!

And blog readers, the amazing Jill Esbaum is giving away a picture book critique!

Leave one comment below to enter.

A random winner will be selected in October.

Good luck!


Jill Esbaum is a widely published author of books for young readers. She is a frequent school visitor and conference speaker. She teaches writing for children at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Visit her at JillEsbaum.com and follow her on Twitter at @JEsbaum

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TIME FLIES
"7 ATE 9/PRIVATE I" BOOK #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
April 26, 2022

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