Comedy writer James Breakwell is best known for his family humor Twitter account, @XplodingUnicorn, where he recounts to his 1.12 million followers funny and honest moments from his experiences as a husband and as a father to four daughters under the age of eight. Though he’s already taken his dad tips and quips to print in two parenting titles (Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and Bare Minimum Parenting), he’s now bringing his comedic style to a younger audience. Little Bee’s BuzzPop imprint will publish Breakwell’s Prance Like No One’s Watching: How to Live Like an Exploding Unicorn in February 2020.
The book will be a 96-page guided journal designed to encourage readers to find their own voice and develop their unique sense of humor. Some of the planned activity prompts for kids include drafting an acceptance speech for induction into the Clown Hall of Fame; turning an awkward or weird situation into a humorous one; and drawing a comic to accompany some provided dialogue.
“James is just so funny! And we wanted to really share his voice and humor,” said BuzzPop editor Rachel Gluckstern, about why she wanted to acquire the project.
“He’s done such great work connecting with parents already, but that work is based on his games and conversations with his kids,” she noted. “So it was pretty easy to see how James doing a book that allowed him to talk to other kids and create games for them, too, would be perfect for us, and for readers.” In addition, Gluckstern believes that there is still a lot of room in the trade market for the perspective of dads, and that Breakwell is “a wonderful representative for that point of view.”
We asked Breakwell a few questions about the new venture.
Why did you want to write a book for children, a new audience for you?
It’s like I always say, children are the adults of the future. Actually, I’ve never once said that, including now. Let’s pretend that first sentence didn’t happen. The truth is I’ve wanted to write something for children for a while. All of my other books talk about kids. This book talks to kids. That’s how most of my tweets start out. My jokes are usually just back and forth conversations with my children. This book is my chance to start those same kinds of conversations with other people’s kids. Parental supervision required.
What sparked the content for Prance Like No One’s Watching?
A lot of the activities are inspired by things I’ve done with my own kids. The book covers a wide range of topics, from pigs to unicorns to zombies, that appeal to my daughters. I’m proud that my children are growing up to be tough and smart and nerdy all at the same time. Also, they kind of scare me.
How did this project come together with BuzzPop?
I’d been thinking about moving into children’s books for a while when BuzzPop happened to reach out to me. It was really good timing. I happily agreed to team up with them before they realized they made a mistake.
Following his kids’ debut, Breakwell will continue to be busy with his several comedy social media accounts as well as his three webcomics and two podcasts. But peeking a bit further down the road, he has already cemented plans for another children’s project, this one a picture book about dreams and imagination, You Can’t Be a Pterodactyl, recently acquired by Nancy Paulsen at Penguin’s Nancy Paulsen Books imprint, and tentatively scheduled for spring 2023.