Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter by Jamie Michalak and Kelly Murphy

Hello, Jamie Michalak! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! I loved meeting you at a SCBWI conference in Massachusetts a few years ago (although that feels like it was 20 years ago). Thank you for stopping by to celebrate Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter.

Jamie Michalak: Hi Mr. Schu! Yes, I loved your energizing talk & still have the book I won. :) Thanks for having me on Watch. Connect. Read. It’s an honor.

Thank you! If you were booktalking Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter to 2nd-grade teachers, what would you share with them?

Jamie Michalak: First, I’d share a big THANK YOU! You’re heroes and you deserve the best summer ever.

OK, the booktalk.… I'd wanted to write a picture book about an Indiana Jones-type character (originally an acorn) who curates a museum of tiny treasures found on various adventures. But then I thought, why not take the reader on the seek-and-find adventure, too?

So kids can join the daring Dakota Crumb as she sneaks into the city’s art museum after midnight to search for rare treasures. Along the way, readers can look for the treasures too, as well as other objects hidden in the pictures. But the best part of this book? The detailed spread of Dakota Crumb’s very own mousehole museum!

I hope Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter will inspire kids to pay attention to all of the real tiny treasures and stories around us every day.

Thank you for that terrific booktalk! 

Illustration Credit: Kelly Murphy 

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Kelly Murphy’s illustrations
are an acrobatic feat! This story is tricky to illustrate — it’s a seek-and-find adventure with lots of tiny objects hidden in the art. Plus, it’s set at NIGHT in a museum from a mouse’s point of view, so there’s a tremendous difference in scale. Yet Kelly nailed the illustrations. They’re cinematic, and they capture all of the eeriness and excitement of a museum at night. Plus, there’s a nod to Indiana Jones! And the big ta-da moment — the mousehole museum at the end — blew me away.

Mice in children’s literature spark our imagination. Isn't there something irresistible and fascinating about a mouse’s miniature world (and tiny furnished home!) that might be right under our nose? I knew I wanted to write about a collector and curator of tiny treasures, but I didn’t know it would be a mouse until I was waiting in line at the Met and imagined a mousehole museum by my feet.

School libraries mean equal access to books for all children. For students who don’t have books at home, a school library might be the only place they can get one. And that’s just one of a million reasons to champion and protect our school libraries. As a kid, my school library was an oasis for me and kindled a lifelong love of reading. I still remember my favorite aisle and the smell of books in the air.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me… Do you collect tiny treasures, too? Why, yes I do! I’m slightly obsessed with them and I still have my dollhouse from when I was a kid. When I was working on Dakota Crumb, I was stuck at one point. Without knowing anything about the story, my son walked over and handed me this tiny cat. Shortly thereafter, I revised the story and Candlewick Press signed it up, so I think that tiny cat is good luck.

Thank you, Jamie! 

Jamie Michalak is the author of the acclaimed Joe and Sparky series and Frank and Bean.

Kelly Murphy is the award-winning author-illustrator of The Boll Weevil Ball and illustrator of Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters and Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters, both by Jane Yolen, as well as many other picture books and chapter books for young readers.

Look for Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter on July 6, 2021. 

In a clever take on the “night at the museum” theme, a little mouse with a genius for collecting leads picture book readers—and seek-and-find aficionados—on a thrilling nocturnal adventure.

Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter is both a rollicking story with a dash of danger and, in its final eye-popping spreads, a seek-and-find challenge. As the clock in the great museum tick-tocks past midnight, a little mouse with a sack and a treasure map scurries past the guards. Plucky and intrepid Dakota Crumb scours the museum for artifacts, including the famous Purple Jewel of Cairo (a gumdrop stashed in an exhibit). By day, the little mouse shares her carefully curated finds with fellow tiny creatures that flock to Miss Crumb’s tiny Mousehole Museum. A feast for sharp-eyed readers—who’ll delight in circling back after the story to pore over the illustrations in search of treasure—this gently suspenseful tale, splashed with soft, dusky hues, evokes a world of wonders after dark.


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