Our April Author of the Month is Cooper Halsey, and if you thought balls and bowling pins are the only objects that can be juggled, his story The Juggling Potato might just make you think again.
The story begins with a farmer harvesting potatoes at the top of a hill, but something is peculiar about these potatoes. He thinks they are rather funny looking.
One of the potatoes rolls down the hill, and when he reaches the bottom, he is surprised to find himself… juggling?
Perhaps just in time for Easter, the potato starts off by juggling bunny rabbits, but he can’t stay long because Sammy Storm Cloud brings bad weather his way.
Even though Sammy’s presence is initially gloomy, Cooper says that Sammy was his favorite part of the story to illustrate.
Sammy warns the Juggling Potato that he will always be following him, but that doesn’t deter the Juggling Potato from making his way to Florida in search of sunnier skies.
Of all the states the Juggling Potato will go onto see, Florida is the one the author would love to visit most. Cooper and his uncle both enjoy sunny days, and Florida definitely has no shortage of those. Who could argue with that?
In Florida, the Juggling Potato juggles beach balls until Sissy Sun tells him that if he doesn’t find some shade soon, he will turn into a baked potato.
He juggles snowmen in Alaska, dodges falling rocks in South Dakota, and almost becomes a string potato in Wyoming when a cowboy nearly steps on him.
One day, the Juggling Potato realizes that he doesn’t want to be alone in his juggling adventures and heads off to Virginia in search of a wife, and when he finds the prettiest of all the potatoes, they get married.
The Juggling Potato and his wife find their happily-ever-after in the only state that has everything a potato could ever need. Idaho! They have three tater-tot children, and as he juggles them, he declares that this is the best juggling he has ever done.
Cooper says the idea for The Juggling Potato was the first thing that came to his mind as he was pondering what to write and draw in his Lulu Junior kit, and he ran with it. Sometimes when inspiration strikes, you just can’t ignore it.
He hopes readers find his story funny, and I mean, with the premise of a potato that juggles, it’s impossible not to get a good laugh. Cooper definitely succeeds!
Even if someone is writing a humorous story, it’s important that all its different parts come together in a way that makes readers say, “aha, now it all makes sense!” Cooper advises his fellow authors to always make sure they tie up the loose ends of their stories just like he does with the happy ending of The Juggling Potato.
Author of the Month: Q&A
Lulu Junior: Who gave you your Lulu Junior kit?
Cooper Halsey: My grandmother gave it to me.
LJ: How long have you been writing?
CH: I’ve been writing stories since I was 4.
LJ: What inspired you to write a book about a juggling potato?
CH: I was thinking and it was the first thing that came to my mind.
LJ: What’s your favorite way to eat a potato?
CH: I think roasted potatoes are delicious!
LJ: Do you juggle?
CH: I tried but I can only juggle 1 or 2 balls.
LJ: Of all the states your potato visited, where would you want to visit most?
CH: I would like to visit Florida because I like nice sunny days like my uncle.
LJ: What was your favorite part of writing the book?
CH: Drawing the illustrations of Sammy storm cloud.
LJ: How did it feel to see your story published into a book?
CH: It felt like I was a famous author!!
LJ: What do you hope people to take away from reading your story?
CH: I hope people get a good laugh from my story.
LJ: Do you have any tips for other young authors?
CH: To always make your story come together.
Allie Long is a Customer Voice Associate at Lulu Press, Inc. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in economics. In her spare time, she enjoys cozying up with a glass of wine and plotting the destruction of the patriarchy.