Marcie Colleen’s delightful debut chapter book series will make kids laugh and want to dance and celebrate along with the bears, and they’ll cheer them on through every slide and hop. The easily read text paired with the fun illustrations makes for delight on every page.
It isn’t just all fun and games, though. The well-named Grumpy Woods are filled with critters who AREN’T Super Happy, and, in fact, are super offended by all the joy, glee, and noise that emanates from the Party Patch. Each book contrasts the many grumpy critters (led by Mayor Quill, a porcupine who is prone to getting so upset that he has a quill explosion) and their gloomy outlook on everything with the Super Happy Party Bears who just want to spread joy (and doughnuts).
When new critters come to the woods, the first reaction of the grumpy critters (after they blame the bears for whatever is disrupting the way they like things) is to figure out how to get the newcomers OUT of the woods, and furthermore, to KEEP them out.
The bears, on the other paw, are always delighted when someone new comes to party with them (even if the newcomers don’t want to party) but have to use their imaginations to deal with the clashes between grumps and newbies.
If you haven’t already spent time in the Grumpy Woods at one of the Bears’ Super Parties, dance on over to a bookstore or library a.s.a.p.!
I’m SUPER Super Happy today, to feature a mini-interview with the author of these books, my friend Marcie Colleen. Thanks so much, Marcie! *insert happy dance here*
Beth: How did the Super Happy Party Bears dance into your mind?
Marcie: The Super Happy Party Bears were actually the brainchild of my editor, Erin Stein. She had come up with the concept and was looking for an author to write the series.
She shared with me the initial concept about relentlessly happy bears living in a place called the Grumpy Woods. I was also given early sketches of the characters and a few lines of synopsis for the first four books. From there I was free to create.
An early thought was to not give individual names to the bears but to have them operate as a saccharine-sweet Greek chorus, always speaking in unison. But once I saw sketches the bears screamed to be given their own personalities. It has been a joy to create these stories and I can’t thank Erin enough for gifting them to me.
Beth: I hunch that some people think of you as an “overnight success” — could you tell us about all the work that happened before the success part of it started happening?
Marcie: I had felt the pull to be a writer for decades, but never knew quite what I wanted to write. But I started pursuing writing for children in October 2010. Right away I joined SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), immersed myself in the community, and dedicated my focus to learning more about craft of writing for children.
Fast forward to 2013, with several completed and polished manuscripts I started my agent search and eventually signed with Susan Hawk. Susan is what is called an “editorial agent” and help me fine-tune much of my work.
Then in September of 2014 we sold my first book, a picture book called THE ADVENTURE OF THE PENGUINAUT, to Scholastic. Shortly afterward, in November of 2014, we sold my second picture book, LOVE, TRIANGLE in a five-house auction in a 2-book deal to Alessandra Balzer at Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins.
Then I started writing the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series in October 2015 which is currently an 8-book deal. In the meantime, I have been writing lots more books and hope to have more exciting news soon.
Beth: Could you tell us some of the other “party hats” you’ve worn in what I know is a varied career (and some of the exciting things you do now in addition to your writing)?
Marcie: I have been a fulltime high school English and drama teacher, an actress, a Teaching Artist on Broadway, a Director of Education at several theatres, a nanny, and I even donned a Viking helmet for a season and flipped Danish-style burgers at an outdoor market in New York City.
Now, in addition to my writing, I create Teacher’s Guides for other authors who want a way to bring their books to existing school curricula.
Beth: What other books are coming from Marcie Colleen?
Marcie: I have two forthcoming picture books that I am quite excited about. LOVE, TRIANGLE (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins) illustrated by Bob Shea will launch on October 3, 2017. THE ADVENTURE OF THE PENGUINAUT (Scholastic), illustrated by Emma Yarlett, will launch in Fall 2018.
And there are more Super Happy Party Bears books, too. The second two in the series, STAYING A HIVE and GOING NUTS come out March 14, 2017. Then, in the Fall three more hit the shelves: BAT TO THE BONE, THE JITTERBUG, and TINY PRANCER. And perhaps most exciting is a Super Happy Party Bears box set with the first four books coming in September.
Beth: Tell us one fun fact about you.
Marcie: I didn’t remember that I wanted to be an author when I was a kid until I found a bunch of old stories I wrote in childhood. In the About the Author section at the end of one “book” I actually wrote about this dream.
And even more special is a note from one of my teachers in sixth grade.
Beth: Thanks so much, Marcie! I loved learning more about your writing in general and the bears in particular. I wish you all the best as you continue to dance your way through life! (Have you sent your sixth grade teacher a copy of the Super Happy Party Bears? Is that still possible?)
You can find Marcie at her website, www.thisismarciecolleen.com
and at her Twitter, @MarcieColleen1
This week, P is for Party Bears of the super happy persuasion, and Prancing around the room dancing the Happy Dance with Marcie! It’s also for being Prepared to Pick up on opportunities that come our way, as Marcie did when Erin introduced the concept of the Super Happy Party Bears; for Picture Books; and for Priceless friends. Thanks again, Marcie!
P.S. Marcie had no idea that the P I would use to illustrate this post would be Purple when she chose the color of her responses to my questions. Can P be for serendiPity?