Book Review: Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica

Lillie Forteau's picture

One of my very favorite books, EVER, is called The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica (and not only because we share the same name). This book made me laugh, and laugh. It has a cd that goes along with it, and it is full of funny, original music. The songs are so great.

Lilly P. Badilly is written by Debbie Glade, who is also our Geography Awareness Editor. She is very talented - as is her family! They all compose and play music on the accompanying cd (on which the story is read in all its glory!).  Debbie also has a really great feature with Lilly Badilly, in which she answers kids's geography questions. She answered one of mine, about the hottest place on earth, and has great videos explaining to kids about geography and the world around us.

The Travels of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica

Lilly P Badilly is a colorful picture book, a funny singer, and has fun doing all sorts of things she loves to do. She has some moments where she is frightened, and there is scary music - but it isn't that scary. She faces her fears and saves the day. I love this book!

My mom and I were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Debbie about her book. Here's what she had to say...

WE: why did lilly sing so happily?

DG: I wanted the book and CD to be fun and silly and that is just how my
cartoon voice sounds. Happy!

WE: why does the grampa always fart?

DG: Grandpa Willie is old, and he does not chew his food properly. He gulps it all down, and that causes a bit of indigestion. Kids think Grandpa's gas is hilarious!

WE: What was your art training? did you have classes or did you learn
by yourself?

DG: I took lessons when I was a kid your age, but the teacher always corrected my pantings. I didn't like that. I preferred painting with my own Grandpa, who was an amateur painter. (This is the same grandpa who inspired the one in the book). The brushes I used to paint the watercolors in my book belonged to my Grandpa Joe! I guess you can say that I just taught myself how to draw. I am a creative person, so my entire life has been filled with art and crafts that I do on my own. I have a craft closet in my house with a small working table and shelves full of art and craft supplies. I like to use recycled items too. My daughter and I have brought crafts to a senior living center several times on different holidays.

WE: Where will Lilly P Badilly go next?

DG: There is a hint in the book about that. Can you figure it out?

WE: What was your inspiration for this book?

DG: My daughter, Rachel is Lilly in most every way. Rachel's curiosity, love for books and musical talents gave me the idea to create the character. My real life Grandparents, Nellie and Joe, inspired me to create the grandparents in the book. I always wanted to write a children's book, and I decided it would be best to use my travel writing background, combine it with my love for art and my crazy cartoon voices. The result was Lilly Badilly!

WE: Was it great fun to make this book?

DG: It was by far the best project I have ever done for so many reasons.
Recording day was incredible. But don't let the fun of it fool you. It is a lot of work! So many people think children's books are easy to write. But they are not! The real joy comes when I observe a chid who is listening to the CD and laughing uncontrollably.

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

DG: I take my book to South Florida schools and talk a lot about geography. I bring large maps of the US and the World. I ask students basic geography questions about the USA, and more times than not they are unable to answer them. Often these are questions about Florida, their own state.  We have an epidemic of geography ignorance in the USA, and I am on a quest to change that! I've joined The National Council for Geographic Education, and I created my Ask Lilly Badilly All About the World video Geography Q and A for kids.

WE (and Lillie's mom): Debbie - thanks so much for this fun interview! We just love your book, and Lillie listens to it every day. We laugh, and learn about Costa Rica, traveling, intercultural learning, insects, family, facing your fears, and more. I highly recommend this extraordinary book for any family or library. It is one of the best picture books we've ever read, and definitely the best audio book.



LForteau is the Special Children's Reporter for Wandering Educators.

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