Mommies247 sat down with Jeff Feuerstein, author to children’s book “Half Popped.”
1) What inspired you to write “Half Popped?”
I was working in Baltimore, eating popcorn in a hotel room one night, feeling pretty lonely myself. I started picking through the bottom of the bowl for the half popped kernels. Maybe I needed someone to talk to because I almost involuntarily uttered out loud the first line of a poem that was being written in my head: “Kenny the kernel was only half popped, he turned out that way when the microwave stopped.” My sister has always enjoyed my writing, and snacking on popcorn, so I shot her an email with that rhyme, just for a smile. Instead she told me, “That sounds like the beginning of a children’s book.” From there I started looking into the hotel room’s mini fridge in a different way: what other foods are social outcasts?
2) The book teaches a great lesson but is also so cute! How did you and the illustrator come upon this design theme?
I wanted my sister, Dayna Brandoff, to be the illustrator mainly as an excuse for us to hang out while working on a project together. Since she’s not a trained artist she had the brilliant idea of taking photographs and manipulating them for a “sketchy” look. But something was still missing. Our characters lacked personality. Enter Alex Miller who put a face to each downtrodden grocery item. Together they brought the book to life.
3) What has been your favorite reaction from a reader?
I got a text message from my sister with a video attachment. My then 2 and a half year old niece quoted the first line of the book with a huge smile on her face. Tough to beat that.
4) Any other installments coming?
I don’t think you’ll see any more installments of Kenny the Kernel himself, but another food-related children’s book is a definite possibility. We have this idea for a girl with pasta for hair that she keeps restyling. “The Girl With Angel Hair Hair.”
5) What’s next for you?
Who knows? I’m still working in film and as a freelance writer and Dayna is still a professional organizer. “What’s next” can really be anything.