The Soggy Town of Hilltop

Today we welcome Kevin McNamee, who will be talking about his children’s picture book, The Soggy Town of Hilltop.

Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, NY.   He primarily writes for the children’s market.  Kevin’s published work includes the picture books, If I Could Be Anything, The Sister Exchange, Lightning Strikes, The Soggy Town of Hilltop and What Is That Thing?

Kevin’s poetry has been published in the collection, An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-Tingling Poems.  Other titles coming soon by Kevin include My Brother, the Frog, Papa’s Suns, Just for Today, and more.

Kevin, what is this book about?

The High Council of Hilltop gets bored, so they decide to start making up rules for their own amusement.  The latest rule demands that people drink water by pouring it on top of their heads.  The townspeople try to drink water this way, but are not very successful at it.  It takes a child to inform the townsfolk exactly how silly this new rule is.

What message are you trying to convey in this book?

Sometimes, following the crowd isn’t the best thing to do.  People need to think for themselves.  Being that this book contains advanced concepts; the age range is listed as 4 through 10.  As children attend school and participate in other activities outside the home, they are bound to be exposed to peer pressure and other outside influences.  This is an excellent time to educate children about these pressures and to give them the tools and guidance so they can make good choices.

Do you think this book can help children with that?

I believe it does.  I tried to use an extreme and funny example to illustrate a problem that could easily solved by independent thinking.  During book readings and school visits, children have always able to recognize what the problem is in the story.  Like the main character in my story, children come to the conclusion that this situation isn’t right.  With this realization, children express why it isn’t right, and draw parallels to situations in their own lives.

Is it hard to write a picture book?

A picture book may be short, but it is by no means easy.  It still has to have all of the elements of a longer story.  I need to pay attention to plot, dialogue, pacing, character development, etc, all while using the least amount of words possible.  When I’m writing a rhyming picture book, it adds another level of difficulty to the process.  I have to consider rhyme and meter as well as all the other elements of a story.  It’s quite a juggling act, but when it all comes together, the extra effort is worth it.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I think that when children learn to think for themselves, they are more likely to make good choices.  I may use humor to talk about this issue, but I think it is a very serious concept for both children and adults.

I had a lot of fun writing this book, so I hope you have just as much fun reading it.

The Soggy Town of Hilltop by Kevin McNamee, Illustrations by Eugene Ruble

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-041-5

eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-042-2

“You want us to do what?!!!”

This fun, rhyming picture book teaches more than just a new way to drink water.

The High Council of Hilltop wants the people to learn a new way to drink.  But when the people find out why, everyone has something new to learn.

This book is available as a print book, a downloadable e-book, and a book on CD from at

Books are also available at

You can also find this book and others by Kevin at, or ask your local bookstore.

What Others Are Saying

The Soggy Town of Hilltop is a funny, rhyming story by Kevin McNamee…What I really like about The Soggy Town of Hilltop is that McNamee spells out the lesson in the end for readers. There isn’t any second guessing as to what the point is. Like one of Aesop’s fables, the moral of the story is in plain sight. The illustrations in this one are equally funny and beautiful. Eugene Ruble does such an excellent job of bringing a story to life with his artwork. – The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection


Told in amusing rhyme, children’s author Kevin McNamee will have the reader laughing out loud and wondering how people would follow ridiculous rules so blindly. Coupled with the unique illustrations by Eugene Ruble, The Soggy Town of Hilltop will soon be a must have for our young muses. – Reviewed by Donna M. McDine for The National Writing for Children Center.


Rather than teaching us a new way to drink, The Soggy Town of Hilltop illustrates the danger, and sometimes even the stupidity, of bowing to peer pressure, something that both youngsters and adults should remember. – Home School Book Review


This is a fun, rhyming story that teaches young readers just because somebody tells you to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, it doesn’t mean you have to and Eugene Ruble’s illustrations give the story a classic fairy tale feel, sure to become a bedtime favorite. –

To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at or visit his blog at

You can also find Kevin on Facebook at

Kevin is also on Linked-In and Twitter, but he admits that he doesn’t tweet much.

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (13)  
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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Your book sounds delightful. I love the cover and the concept. I agree with you that a children’s book may be shorter to write but by no means easier. Good luck
    Martha Swirzinski

  2. Hi Kevin! Looks like another fabulous book! Will have to check it out for my kids!

  3. Hearing the viewpoints of a picture book writer is interesting. Kevin McNamee has interesting ideas. I wish our grandchildren were still picture book age!

  4. This is an absolutely wonderful story that accomplishes the difficult task of telling an amusing, unique story; entertaining both child and parent; teaching a valuable lesson (subtly, not in-your-face) – all wrapped up with perfect rhyme and meter. Wow! Yet another job well done, my friend!! Bravo!

  5. Kevin, thank you for being my guest today. I too wish I had youngsters to buy this book for! Good job.

  6. The Soggy Town of Hilltop sounds terrific, Kevin. I love the theme, and speaking as a parent, reading rhyming books outloud is so much fun. Children memorise rhymes so much easier than non-rhymes and so can replace words and learn to read without working hard.

  7. Thank you for all of the wonderful comments. I really appreciate them.

    Thanks for the kind words and well wishes Martha.

    Mary and Heidi, too bad that there are no kids around in the 4-10 year old age range. Nothing makes my day like getting feedback from kids who read my book.

    Thanks a lot Jennifer, I hope your kids enjoy my book.

    Susie, thank you for the stellar endorsement. 🙂

    Magdalena, rhyme is easier for adults to memorize as well. It comes in handy when I’m doing book readings and holding the book out so the kids can see the illustrations. 🙂

  8. You amaze me with how you just keep putting out such wonderful books.

  9. Great book Kevin. I wish you much success.

  10. Kevin, your book sounds like a wonderful way to teach children about peer pressure. Best wishes for success.
    Karen Cioffi

  11. Virginia: Thank you for the wonderful compliment. 🙂

    Kathy and Karen: Thank you, I wish you much success as well.

  12. Kevin’s book is indeed wonderful. I read and reviewed The Soggy Town of Hilltop and adore the message is brings across elegantly!

  13. What an awesome way to address peer pressure! Love it!

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