Saturday, February 26, 2022

Middle Grade Ninja Episode 154: Author Leslie Patricelli

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Leslie Patricelli and I discuss her career writing and illustrating board books and her recent middle grade novels in THE RIZZLERUNK CLUB series, BEST BUDS UNDER FROGS and THE BIG BAD LIES. We talk about her time designing for Microsoft, self-publishing a book in 1993, her approach to illustrating her books for older readers with ink vs painting her picture books, our mutual love for Stephen King, the difficulty of scheduling, the necessity of deadlines, ghosts walking up walls, and so much more.

Leslie Patricelli lives in the mountain town of Hailey, Idaho with her husband, Jason, her daughter Tatum, three cats and a devoted, stick-loving dog. Of the many outdoor activities she loves doing in the mountains, skiing untracked powder and mountain biking during wildflower season are at the top of the list. Her son, Beck, is living and playing music in Brooklyn, NY, and her daughter, Tia, is majoring in environmental studies at University of Washington. Her husband is a drummer, music engineer, ski instructor, and her on-request editor.

When a little lie turns into a more serious one, will Lily and Darby’s friendship survive—or is it the end of the Rizzlerunk Club?

Lily Lattuga finally feels settled after moving to a new town and starting the fourth grade at a new school. She gets to live right across the lake from her best friend, Darby, who loves frogs and drawing just as much as Lily does. They even have their own club: the Rizzlerunks. But then things start going wrong: the new boy in class is a liar and a bully, and Darby begins acting strangely—she even breaks the Rizzlerunk pledge of honesty and gets Lily into trouble! And when something bad happens to one of the classroom rats on Lily’s watch, Lily finds herself caught in a lie with no clear way out. She realizes a little lie can snowball into a huge one that sucks in every good feeling and hurts others terribly. What’s a Rizzlerunk to do? Humorous, heartfelt, and full of illustrations that bring Lily’s charmingly candid voice to life, this second book in the Rizzlerunk Club series will resonate with anybody who has ever found it hard to do the right thing.

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