Growing Reader

Talking Art, Parties, and Foodie Fun with Peanut Butter & Cupcake Author Terry Border

by the Brightly Editors

Here at Brightly, we’re big fans of innovative authors and illustrators. And sweets. We love sweets. That’s why we were delighted to talk to Terry Border, the super cool author and illustrator behind Peanut Butter & Cupcake, Happy Birthday, Cupcake, Peanut Butter’s Delicious Colors, and more. Read on to learn more about Terry, his unique artistic creations, and his most memorable birthday party of all time. And don’t miss the Cupcake activities at the end of the article, perfect for some at-home fun with your little honey bun.

What should readers know about Terry Border?

Well, I’m a middle-aged man (if I live to be 100) who has tried all sorts of photography and other creative endeavors. Right now I’m making children’s books and it seems like it’s something I should have tried many years ago.

I live in the Midwest with my wife and 18-year-old daughter and some cats. My perfect evening is staying at home and watching funny movies. I’m a mediocre cook who likes to be in the kitchen. Coffee and beer are my preferred beverages.

What’s your spirit animal?

A turtle. In general, I’m pretty slow, but I ALWAYS get where I’m going. I persevere!

What are Bent Objects? How did you first come up with the idea for them?

They sprang from a need for cheap art supplies. I had been playing with a coil of wire and I added some stuff we had in the house to create “characters”.  The fancy word is I “anthropomorphize” objects, which means I see them as people. What kind of story does a cheese puff or a peanut have? I try and make up a story and a photo to show you.

Speaking of which, you’ve worked with peanut butter, marshmallows, bell peppers, and obviously cupcakes – what food item would you still like to work with?

I’ve never used a steak, but it would seem so wasteful I just don’t think I could do it! It’s hard to think of another I haven’t used! How about a TV dinner? I should try that.

What was the inspiration behind Happy Birthday, Cupcake?

When my daughter was younger, every year was a struggle to come up with a good birthday party idea that wouldn’t break the bank. Boy, that was really tough. Every parent wants their kid to have a good time and not be embarrassed somehow. Lots of pressure for parents.

What was your most memorable birthday party ever? 

My mother and my best friend threw me a surprise party for my 16th birthday. It was very nice of them, but I’m not a party person. I remember trying to smile the whole time but being very stressed by it all.

What’s one of the best things that’s happened to you since you started creating your unique works of art?

I spent a week in São Paulo, Brazil with my own translator and chauffeur during a well-paying job. The late Roger Ebert was a fan and I got to communicate with him a little bit. A special thing now is hearing from parents when their child enjoys my books. Yesterday a woman messaged me saying she woke up to hear her 3-year-old reciting lines from Peanut Butter & Cupcake. That’s pretty neat.

Have fun with Cupcake at home! Get the printable Cupcake activities.