When Bigfoot is driving the bus, a field trip can feel legendarily long…but the best surprise of all is yeti to come!
When Yeti, the school bus driver, takes the class on a surprise trip, everyone wants to know: “Are we there, Yeti?” Does that sound familiar when your family travels? However, Yeti is a pretty cool driver because he wants the trip to be a surprise and makes sure to stay calm throughout the chants.
And when they finally arrive (YAY!), a new adventure is in store! Told with simple text and delightful illustrations, Ashlyn Anstee’s debut picture book presents a fun, new take on a timeless question. You’ll have to read the book to find out the answer, but I have a special surprise in store for my quests! If you haven’t heard of the singer/songwriter, Emily Arrow yet – you soon will! She recently created a NEW genre of kindie music called ‘KidLit Tunes’ and her songs are based on children’s books. As a previous music teacher, you can definitely make the connection to why writing songs for kids about their favorite books would be a hit. I’m going to do a Q&A with Emily and focus specifically on Are We There, Yeti?, especially since she had the author/illustrator of this book, Ashlyn Anstee also create her cover album. How cool is that?!?!
Q&A with singer/songwriter, Emily Arrow:
1. Did you approach Ashlyn Anstee, who wrote and illustrated, Are We There, Yeti? to do the album cover for your debut album Storytime Singalong Volume I?
Maureen Palacios, the bookstore owner at my favorite local indie children’s bookstore (Once Upon A Time Bookstore in Montrose, CA) first suggested I write a song for the book. She shared about Ashlyn’s upcoming book launch party and invited me to sing if I wrote a song in time.
I picked up the book the night before her launch party at 8pm, got home at 9pm, and co-wrote the song with songwriter, collaborator, and dear friend April Bender by 10:30pm. The next morning, I sang the song at Ashlyn’s book launch-which was the first time she ever heard it!
2. Are We There, Yeti? is one of the books you are featuring on the album. What makes this book so special to you?
ARE WE THERE, YETI? is such a special book to me because it also created an incredible friendship. The story is an instant crowd pleaser that inspired a fun and interactive song and was made by one of my favorite creators. Ashlyn’s work is unique in the picture book market and has an element of humor that is perfect for my storytimes at schools and bookstores. This book-song project led to us creating a video together for the ARE WE THERE, YETI? Song which stars Ashlyn and her editing powers.
This project led to even further collaboration as Ashlyn is the illustrator and designer of the album art for the entire album! We’re also cooking up a song/video project for her most recent release too, NO NO GNOME 🙂
3. You are a former music teacher, were you always inspired to write about children’s books?
During my time as a music teacher, I began integrating literature into my classroom as a way to give depth to the content of songs. For example, I would teach an Earth Day song, and then read a story like Peter Brown’s THE CURIOUS GARDEN as a means to lyric comprehension. Then I began hunting for songs about the books I was using. No luck. So I wrote my own!
4. If you could explain how Are We There, Yeti? is such an inspiration for your album, could you do it in 20 words or less? Go! 🙂
ARE WE THERE, YETI? is the silliest and most requested song on the album!
Thank you so much for your time, Emily! Readers, I’m including additional information about Emily and I’m dual posting a review of her new album Storytime Singalong Volume I simultaneously with this review, so check it out!
Storytime Singalong Volume I is Emily’s debut album in her self-created genre – KidLit Tunes is a beautiful journey of song and the written word. The songs can be played along with correlating books, creating a truly unique and delightful family or in-school experience. Each tune features simple follow-along lyrics based on bright, bold storybooks, which will entrance even the youngest of listeners and early readers. Of the eleven songs on the CD, seven songs are inspired by books like The Dot Song by Peter H. Reynolds, Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light , The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, Are We There Yet, Yeti? by Ashlyn Anstee, I Am Yoga, by Susan Verde with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, One Day, the End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, with illustrations by Fred Koehler and I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld. Four original tunes by Emily are “Books! Books!,” “Poem In Your Pocket,” “Peanut To My Butter” (“You’re the peanut to my butter, the bumble to my bee … the sprinkles on my cupcake … that’s what you are to me.”) and “Follow Your Arrow.” Her vocals are lovely, the songs are fantastic and I can’t rave enough about the excitement I feel about ‘KidLit Tunes.” The CD is recommended for ages 2-10 and produced by Nick Goldston, who also provided instrumentation, arranging and background vocals. The album cover features artwork by author/illustrator Ashlyn Anstee, who wrote and illustrated Are We There, Yeti?.
About Emily Arrow: Emily is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and earned her graduate-level teaching certification in Orff-Shulwerk Levels I & II. Following her studies, Emily became a K-6 music teacher at a performing arts-based private elementary school in Los Angeles. During her time teaching, she found that her passion was collaborating with the library, art and technology departments, which led her to her launching KidLit Tunes combining her love of reading, song writing and performing. Emily Arrow will be on tour to support the release of Storytime Singalong Volume I beginning in February. For a tour list, more information or to order the CD please visit www.EmilyArrow.com.
About the Author/Illustrator: Ashlyn Anstee was born in a rainy city, traveled to a snowy city, and then settled in a sunny city. Now she writes and illustrates picture books and also works in the animation industry. Her debut picture book, “Are We There, Yeti?”, has plenty of Yetis, and plenty of questions. For activity sheets and more, visit www.arewethereyeti.org, or check out Yeti’s trailer on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/132295494
List Price: $ 17.99 (Currently on sale through Amazon Prime for $13.66)