The Cupcake Boy is the story about a boy who makes the most beautiful and tasty cupcakes in the world; however, the villagers take the boy for granted. So disheartened, he leaves his home wondering: “Why should I bake cupcakes for a world that doesn’t love me?” In many ways it is a sequel to “Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life” because it is the story about coming home again.
Also seen in this month’s edition of Natural Awakenings available online or at your favorite Milwaukee-area health food store. I know what you are thinking—cupcakes can be healthy too, especially if they are made with love.
Coincidentally, this issues features Milwaukee’s prominent citizen Will Allen and his organization Growing Power and Milwaukee’s only urban farm, which advocates the “good food revolution”. I’ll be speaking at Growing Power’s Fall Conference about my school book project and how students can illustrate the next book about eco-friendly subjects like local food, water conservation and more.
One mother was kind enough to send me this photo: “My kids thought your book needed a little color”. I think this is a great surprise. I initially designed the books in the simplest way possible for children to illustrate. Unlike fine art, illustration needs to tell a story. So I felt black marker drawings would give the kids the best control, and I know from years of being a graphic designer that colors often turn to mud by the time they reach the final printing. So, I’m pleased to see that black & white books turned out even better than I imagined, because, to use modern vernacular, they are more interactive.
We celebrated the new book, The Cupcake Boy, at Amy Belle Elementary at their Spring Fling. It was a big success! It makes me feel fulfilled to see all the proud young student illustrators. Below is a young artist displaying her picture of the cupcake boy realizing he is like a greedy little piggy. Pictures like this help inspire new pages in the book and round out the story. And a special thanks to the custodian, Rochelle, who turns out to be Amy Belle’s own Cupcake Lady. She spent a week baking monster cupcakes, Despicable Me Minion cupcakes, Cinderella cupcakes and much more. And many more parents donated hundreds of cupcakes to the school bake sale. And thanks to Arma for helping to organize everything in her cupcake pajamas.
Photo with courtesy and permission from the family.
I think this is a beautiful picture even though it didn’t turn out as I imagined. The photo was taken on St. Patrick’s Day when all the kids were wearing green. I asked everyone with a red coat to be part of the cherry. I also didn’t account for perspective, which makes the muffin top look too small. Below you can see my preparatory drawing using a satellite image of the playground and a cupcake illustration, which I then transferred to the school playground using chalk and a grid pattern.
Here’s a very strange coincidence. I’m working with Amy Belle Elementary as the author-in-residence to create a new book “The Cupcake Boy”. Before I arrived in one class the teacher had just finished reading them Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job, which is a book I worked on with the STEM Academy. And, just as we were finishing the illustrations in the classroom, a mother brought the class a treat. Guess what!? “Dirt cupcakes” with grass and a gummi worm on top. Bizarre!
I’m hoping she contributes some of her culinary creations to the end-of-year Spring Fling when we will be celebrating the book. And all the student illustrators will be autographing their page in the book.
Pictured here is a stack of about 1500 drawings for our new book “The Cupcake Boy” with Amy Belle Elementary. On top are disco-flavored cupcakes.
The Cupcake Boy is a story about a boy who loves to make the most beautiful and tasty cupcakes in the world. But the greedy villagers take the boy and his cupcakes for granted. So the boy becomes disheartened and goes to the top of the mountain to ask himself why he should continue to make cupcakes in an ungrateful world.
There has been a lot of research for this book involving eating cupcakes :) I’m already excited for the book launch cupcake party!