Valenslime by Joy Keller and Ashley Belote

Hello, Joy Keller! Hello, Ashley Belote! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! How perfect that you dropped by on Valentine’s Day to share Valenslime’s cover! Thank you! 

Joy, imagine you’re booktalking Valenslime to second graders. What would you say?

Joy Keller: I would start by asking if any of them has ever made slime before—and I bet most of them would say YES! The main character in Valenslime is a young scientist who loves to make slime, too. After she creates a slime assistant named Goop, she worries that Goop will be lonely and sets out to make him a slimy companion…but what ingredients will make a perfect friend?

Ashley, please tell us about Valenslime’s endpapers?

Ashley Belote: In my opinion, endpapers are an illustrator’s dream come true! These can set the stage for the story and I love experimenting with different ways to make them dynamic. For Valenslime, I wanted them to mimic the endpapers from Frankeslime to maintain some consistency between the two books. When coming up with an initial design, I wanted to set up the fact that Victoria is a creative scientist and pals around with Igor (her doggy sidekick). I also wanted to reflect the detail-oriented nature of the artwork throughout the book. After taking all those things into consideration, I thought a showcase of Victoria’s experiments using labeled beakers would be a fun way to introduce this character and the pending narrative. Plus, I had a ton of fun coming up with the silly names for slime, haha. In order to make the Valenslime endpapers differ a little from Frankenslime, I made all the beakers heart shaped and the slimes are all Valentine-related. My favorite…Red Rose Slime *thorn free* haha.

Joy, please finish the following sentence starters: 

Ashley Belote’s illustrations are a feast for the eyes. They’re adorable, of course, but they also contain so many creative details and hilarious jokes. I could spend forever reading Victoria’s science notes and studying the endpapers. I especially love how Ashley breathed life into Igor, Victoria’s dog. He ends up stealing the show on every page—just look at him there on the cover!

Frankenslime tells the story of young slime scientist Victoria Franken. In her efforts to make a slime the world has never seen before, she accidentally brings her slime creation to life.

It’s obviously a playful interpretation of Frankenstein, and it led me to wonder, “What if Victoria’s slime creation is lonely, just like Frankenstein’s monster?” I thought it would be fun to have Victoria make a friend for Goop, and that’s how Valenslime came to be. I’m so glad editor Holly West and the team at Feiwel & Friends agreed to let Victoria’s experiments continue!

Ashley, please finish the following sentence starters: 

Joy Keller’s manuscript for Valenslime inspired me! She is so clever and has this ability to set up huge, imaginative scenes that lend themselves SO well to illustration. She provides just enough detail in the text that allows me to get a sense of what is happening and then leaves room for me to bring in visual content. This story instantly took me back to second grade and celebrating Valentine’s Day with my friends—it was such a big deal! Our readers will identify with that right away as they are currently experiencing those fun times. I also think her underlying message of friendship and the importance it plays in life really comes through in this story. What better time to celebrate friendship than Valentine’s Day?!

Picture books are springboards for a child’s (and an adult’s) imagination! There is no better way to spend your time than reading through and looking at a compilation of text and images that can make you laugh, cry, think, observe, learn, and be inspired all in 32-40 pages. For me, I was never a huge reader but would pick out books that had appealing images. A lot of kids are voracious readers and prefer to focus more on the words, but regardless of which method of storytelling you prefer between visual, narrative, or read aloud, picture books provide it all! My hope is to make kids laugh and experience a few minutes lost in or inspired by another world though a book. I can’t wait to share Frankenslime and Valenslime with all of them!

Thank you, Joy and Ashley! 

Look for Valenslime on November 16, 2021. 

Macmillan's Description: 

A young slime scientist's efforts to make a Valentine's Day friend for her slime named Goop explode in this clever and funny picture book companion to Joy Keller and Ashley Belote’s Frankenslime.

Victoria Franken, slime scientist, loved her slime. And her slime loved her back.

Ever since the dark and stormy night when Victoria Franken brought her slime, Goop, to life, she and Goop have been great friends, but when Valentine's Day rolls around, Victoria comes to the horrifying realization that while she had many friends, Goop only had her.

The only solution is for her to make Goop a new friend. Victoria goes straight to work creating some slimes that she thinks lightning will strike and bring to life, much like it did when she created Goop. She waits and waits, but nothing happens. She instructs her sidekick, Igor the dog, to fetch her some materials to create a slime making machine! The only problem, it works a little too well. The slime gets bigger and bigger until it's fully out of control. Victoria and Igor must attempt to clean up the mess they've made while keeping friendship at the forefront of their efforts.

Joy Keller is the author of several children’s books, including Frankenslime, Fungus Is Among Us!, and Monster Trucks. When she isn’t writing stories or studying weird science, she can be found teaching writing and science to elementary students. She lives in New York with her husband, kids, and lots of cats.

Ashley Belote is the illustrator of Frankenslime (2021) and the author-illustrator of her solo debut picture book, Listen Up, Louella (2022). She studied traditional animation under the direction of Don Bluth, earned her BA from Alderson Broaddus University and her MA in arts administration from the University of Kentucky. Her graduate study included a children’s literature and illustration course through Simmons College. Ashley lives and works in North Carolina where she creates artwork that she hopes brings lots of laughs to others.


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