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Write On Ottawa: Renaissance woman Rachel Eugster releases charming children’s book

By Alejandro Bustos on August 6, 2013

Literary inspiration can come from the most peculiar places.  For Rachel Eugster, whose impressive artistic talents include acting, singing and writing, it arrived while dropping off her son at kindergarten.

Eugster recalls her son turning to her on that fateful day and saying: “I wish you were the smallest mom in the world so I could put you in my pocket and take you with me all day long.”

Touched by this beautiful moment, she was inspired to write a story.  “It was such an articulate thing for a three-year-old to say,” she says in a phone interview.  “The moment he said this I knew that there was a book in it.”

From this lovely moment, the idea was born for The Pocket Mommy, an enchanting story about a little boy named Samuel who discovers a real, tiny mom in his shirt pocket.  At first, Samuel is delighted to have a pocket-sized mom that he can carry around with him at kindergarten.  He soon discovers, however, that having a tiny mother that follows him around is not as much fun as he expected.

Beautifully illustrated by Tom Goldsmith, this enchanting story is published by Tundra Books.  With a mischievous tone, it pokes fun at mothering, while embracing the love that a child has for their mom.

Photo of Rachel Eugster by Andrew Alexander Photography

Photo of Rachel Eugster by Andrew Alexander

Officially released today (August 6), The Pocket Mommy is the product of years worth of work.  Eugster recalls how she first met the publisher of Tundra during a conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, circa the spring of 2009.  A discussion about a blouse that Eugster was wearing turned into a correspondence, which then evolved into discussions with other Tundra employees after the publisher left the company.

Fast forward a few years, and that tender moment in a kindergarten class with her son has blossomed into a touching book.  As for follow up children’s stories, Eugster says that she is working on a couple of manuscripts, but has not submitting anything yet for publication.

“I have lots of ideas,” says Eugster, who previously published a five-part children’s series called Ingredients of a Balanced Diet, with a focus on food and nutrition.  She then adds: “I start a lot of projects, but they go slowly.”

Given the wide scope of her artistic work – one can use the term Renaissance woman – she can be forgiven for taking a slow pace.  In addition to writing, she is actively involved in the theatre, with her most recent role being with the Bear and Co. ensemble that presented Comedy of Errors while touring local parks this summer.

She also sings with the recently formed Dragon’s Tea Trio, which includes cellist Joan Harrison and guitarist Andrew Mah.  If this weren’t enough, she has also worked as a musical director in plays and musicals, has been an occasional conductor, and has extensive experience writing for magazines and editing.

In addition to the Tundra Books web site, you can purchase The Pocket Mommy at local bookstores, as well as such online sites as Amazon and Random House.