HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8M.H. Clark Discusses Her New Picture Book ‘Eat the Cake’

M.H. Clark Discusses Her New Picture Book ‘Eat the Cake’

Sponsored by Compendium, Inc.
The Children’s Book Review | February 26, 2019

Settle in and slice yourself a piece of your favorite cake. It’s time to celebrate life with this deliciously cheerful new picture book from M.H. Clark—a poet and writer who has received multiple awards. Eat the Cake is an inspirational and joyful treat for readers of all ages and we have the scoop (an interview à la mode, if we may). Get ready to smile and toss handfuls of confetti!

From birthdays to graduations to baby showers to any reason for celebrating, Eat the Cake makes a great go-to gift book. Can you tell us the inspiration behind your joyful new picture book?

M.H. Clark: You said it perfectly in your question! It’s all about celebration. The inspiration behind this book was a sense of wanting to capture those moments when our everyday routines break open into something bright and sweet and full of possibility—birthdays, graduations, baby showers, retirement, and new chapters of all kinds! Those moments always feel like the celebration of everything that’s already been, along with an optimistic looking-forward to everything that’s still to come. That moment when you are both joyfully looking back and joyfully looking forward is what I wanted this book to capture. Sort of like when you’ve already enjoyed a few bites of cake, but there’s still more on your plate!

Which five words do you feel best describe Eat the Cake?

Oh, just five words? Let’s see!

Bright

Spirited

Celebratory

Optimistic

Joyful

(All with a little bit of frosting on top.)

An inspirational and optimistic seize-the-moment message radiates from the pages—a message that is suitable for all ages. Did you have an age range in mind when you began writing it?

I love that you mention this all-ages quality—it’s exactly what I wanted this book to be. I think that a sense of enthusiastic celebration is really an ageless thing, and something that all human beings can access, whether they’re six or ninety-six. It’s a beautiful part of the human spirit—that we are capable both of loving where we are and looking forward to all that might come next. So yes, I would say this was written to be an all-ages title.

What are your hopes that readers, young and old, will take away from Eat the Cake?

My hope is that readers of all ages feel invited to celebrate… and given permission to do this too! I think all of us, from time to time, need to feel we’re allowed to be as bright as we are, allowed to make a little noise, allowed to feel fearless and free… and allowed to delight in the special things that life is offering. To me, “eat the cake” is a sort of philosophy—take the chance, dream the dream, sing the song, live the life that is perfectly yours to live, and love the good things along the way. It’s an invitation to add a little bit of that spirit to every day.

The rhythm and rhyme are quite Seussical. It reads so fluently and buoyantly that it’s easy to imagine that this piece of work just flowed right out of you. However, I know that writing a rhyming book that flows so effortlessly can be harder than it appears. Were there any sections that you needed to rewrite a few times to get it, just right?

This is such a wonderful question! There were definitely stanzas that arrived all together, and others that took some time and revising. I often think that a rhyme scheme does such interesting things to a manuscript—in some cases, it makes the path much clearer, and in other places, it makes the path harder to find. In particular, this stanza: “Be so bright that the stars, watching all that you do, / look right down from the sky and start wishing on you” took a while to get just right! But there’s no way those thoughts would have come out that way without the rhyme… It’s a little like finding the right puzzle piece—it clicks when it fits into place.

Jana Glatt’s illustrations are so playful and artsy—it’s certainly a book that looks good on the bookshelf. The colors make me think of happy times, cupcake frostings, and delicious lemon curd. Before we dive further into the artwork, and since we’re on the topic of frosting and flavors, will you tell us what your favorite kind of cake is?

Yes, these illustrations are incredible! When I first saw the sketches, I felt I could pore over them all day and still find some new detail to love. And the palette is perfect… lemon curd, yes! In fact, they remind me of my favorite cake flavors—berry, citrus, anything with fruit. Maybe that’s why these colors make me so happy?

Now that we have that most important question out of the way, can you share with us how you collaborated with Jana and the publishing team at Compendium?

Compendium and I have collaborated on a number of books, and the team there is full of incredible artists, writers, dreamers, and makers. I worked very closely with my editor, Cindy Wetterlund, and with the book designer, Justine Edge, who communicated with Jana on these illustrations and all the decisions (big and small!) that go into making a picture book. So many of the decisions were team decisions, so the book itself has all of our heart and handprints all over it.

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork that Jana created for Eat the Cake?

Oh, this is a hard choice! I love the “anything is possible” energy on the “throw the windows wide open” page. It really captures the feeling of a morning when you wake up and feel that wonderful things are within reach. And I’m also in love with all those birds on the “it’s your day to be wild and fearless and free” pages. I don’t know where all those incredible wings are flying off to, but I want to go with them!

I really can’t stop thinking about cake now! If you were to create a unique cake based on the text and pictures, what would it look like and what would the flavor be?

What a fun question! I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this! I think this would be a very homemade cake—probably one that lots of adults and children had a fun time making and decorating together. It would definitely have several layers to it, and lots of frosting too, and I think the cake itself would be vanilla with mango and raspberry jam swirls, confetti frosting, and bright marzipan birds on top. I hope someone will make this, and send a slice to me!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about Eat the Cake?

Just that I hope this book inspires lots of celebrations of all sizes! And that I hope people of all ages feel that this book inspires them to seize sweetness and bright possibilities wherever they might find them.

Eat the Cake

Written by M.H. Clark

Illustrated by Jana Glatt

Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s your day to be wild and fearless and free. It’s your day for becoming the next thing you’ll be. Though today is your party, it doesn’t stop here, it should keep right on going and last you all year. Roll out the streamers, blow up the balloons, and celebrate all the great things that are coming your way! With its colorful cast of characters, delightfully detailed illustrations, and playful rhymes, this festive book will ignite good feelings for birthdays and any occasion where cake is appropriate. (And cake is always appropriate!) A fun and joyfilled gift for anyone ages 5 to 105. Features a hardcover with embossing.

Ages 5-105 | Publisher: Compendium | February 1, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1946873842

Buy the Book

Book Giveaway

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A signed copy of Eat the Cake
  • A ‘You Are a Marvel‘ art piece printed on wood

Four (4) winners receive:

  • A signed copy of Eat the Cake

Giveaway begins February 26, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends March 26, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

How To Enter
  • Complete the entry form below.
  • Enter once daily (optional).

Giveaway Rules
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER TO WIN.
  • Eat the Cake giveaway sponsored by Compendium, Inc.
  • Enter between 12:00 AM Mountain Time on February 26, 2020, and 11:59 PM on March 26, 2020.
  • Go to https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2020/02/m-h-clark-discusses-her-new-picture-book-eat-the-cake.html on a computer or wireless device and complete and submit the entry form pursuant to the on-screen instructions.
  • One (1) grand prize winner receives:
    • A signed copy of Eat the Cake
    • A ‘You Are a Marvel‘ art piece printed on wood
  • Four (4) winners receive:
    • A signed copy of Maybe.
  • Odds of winning will depend upon the total number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
  • Winners will be selected at random on or about March 31, 2020.
  •  Important Notice: You may be charged for visiting the mobile website in accordance with the terms of your service agreement with your carrier.
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are thirteen years of age or older in their state or territory of residence at time of entry. Void where prohibited by law.
  • The Children’s Book Review is not responsible for prize fulfillment.
  • Prizes courtesy of Compendium, Inc.

Sponsored by Compendium, Inc., this interview—M.H. Clark Discusses Her New Picture Book ‘Eat the Cake’—was conducted between M.H. Clark and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with , , , , , and .

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

Comments
  • What a wild and fun book. Celebrations are for everyone and highly contagious. I enjoyed reading about the creation of the book. Of course the need for a big slice of cake has hit me. 😊

    February 27, 2020
  • So vivid illustrations. Yet simple enough to be enjoyed by the kids. My kid is surely going to enjoy this one. Thank you for sharing!

    February 27, 2020

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