When fellow blogger, Kelly Suellentrop, first asked for help spreading the word about her new children’s book, Absolute Mayhem, I vacillated. I’m playing catch-up on my own writing these days and I didn’t want to commit to something if I lacked the time to follow through.
Then, I remembered how daunting it is to navigate the process of self-publishing your first book. How do you take a stack of paper with words or drawings on the sheets and turn that pile into an actual book that people can buy? (And I’m not talking about a comb-bound course packet from the Kinko’s copy center.) It’s not an easy process the third or fourth time you do it. The first time, it’s a mind-blowing mystery. To borrow from Kelly’s book title, it’s Absolute Mayhem.
It’s a lonely, confusing process, and anyone who makes it through deserves congratulations and support from the independent author community.
I signed up to help.
And then I had that moment. If you interact with writers at all, you know that moment. It goes like this in your head: “Oh my God! What if I don’t like the book? I’ve just agreed to blog about it, but what if I hate it? How will I get out of it? I know. I’ll tell her my blog is busy washing its hair.”
Before I opened the electronic proof file Kelly sent, I crossed my fingers and pleaded, “Please be good. Please be good. Nobody ever buys the hair washing excuse.”
Then, I opened the file and forgot all about making excuses, because Absolute Mayhem is an awesome children’s book. I don’t have to mince words. I don’t have to finesse anything. I get to relax and tell the truth, which is simply that I really like this book.
Absolute Mayhem is the story of Lulu and Milo, siblings who dutifully do their schoolwork and chores all week long in anticipation of the fun they expect to have on the weekend. During the week, they rely upon their imaginations. But on the weekend, it’s Absolute Mayhem as they live their dreams.
I love the artwork in this book – not for any technical reasons, because I have no artistic talent, so I wouldn’t know a technical reason if it bit me in the deep lower back. The art here has an endearing playfulness. It’s the funny, little touches, like the rabbit spraying air freshener around the doggy doo in the back yard, that make the illustrations special.
The story is relatable to both kids and adults, a target that many children’s books miss. As a parent of three, I’ve been exposed to approximately 3.2 metric tons of children’s literature and this one is up there with the best of them.