The Chicken Problem: Jen and Billy Interview Each Other

The Chicken Problem

The Nerdy Book Club is excited to celebrate The Chicken Problems today with Mr. Johnny Schu and Mr. Colby Sharp.

Be sure to check out The Chicken Problem book trailer on Mr. Schu’s blog. We think you’ll enjoy reading what his students thought of the trailer.

Mr. Sharp was suppose to interview Jen and Billy for today’s trifecta, but his fourth graders took matters into their own hands.

Now it is Jen and Billy’s turn.

Jen and Billy work closely together. So for this blog, we thought we’d take turns interviewing each other! Here goes:

BILLY: So Jen. Were you a nerd?

JEN: I would say yes. I was a nerd. And I still am! I didn’t spend a lot of time reading books as a kid, but I did spend a lot of time drawing comic strips. What about you, were you a nerd?

BILLY: I was always weird in one way or another. Sometimes I studied way too much. Sometimes I didn’t study at all, just played music. But I guess that still makes one a nerd, so I guess yes, I’ve always been a nerd too. And I’m not ashamed!

JEN: Neither am I!

BILLY: So would you say being a nerd is cool?

JEN: If you asked me when I was younger I would have said no, it wasn’t cool, but that never bothered me. If you ask me now, I’ll say yes it’s cool to be so into what you do that you don’t care what others think.

BILLY: Well I think you’re REALLY COOL, so whatever you are, that’s cool.

JEN: What’s the first thing you ever wrote?

BILLY: I used to make up plays for my brother and sister, and force them to be in them. What’s the first think you ever drew?

JEN: I don’t remember the first thing I drew. But my mother tells me that when I was two or three, I asked her to show me how to draw an elephant, and she told me she didn’t know how to draw. So I threw the entire box of crayons at her in frustration. In that moment she knew I was going to be an artist!

BILLY: Funny story! So, it’s like you’ve always been an artist…and I’ve always been a writer. It’s just been this lifelong adventure for both of us. Anyway, one more question. You’ve been so successful creating characters for TV, why did you want to make a book?

JEN: I’ve always wanted to work on a children’s book. I guess now that everything’s digital, it feels more magical than ever to hold something that you made in your hands and touch it. How about you?

BILLY: Yeah. I love picture books. You have so few words, every one of them is so important. And I love the way the words work with the pictures. And that the reader can control the pace at which the story unfolds.


BILLY ARONSON’S plays have been produced frequently by Ensemble Studio Theatre and published in five volumes of Best American Short Plays. His writing for the musical theater includes the original concept and additional lyrics forRent, and the book for the Theatreworks USA musical Click Clack Moo. His TV writing includes scripts for MTV’s Beavis & Butt-head, Cartoon Network’sCourage the Cowardly Dog, Sesame Workshop’s Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures, and Nickelodeon’s The Wonder Pets!, for which he was head writer and won an Emmy Award. Billy lives in Brooklyn with his wife Lisa Vogel and their offspring, Jake and Anna.

JENNIFER OXLEY was born in Hollywood, California, and made her first film at the age of seven. She’s the recipient of an Emmy Award for her role as director on Nick Jr.’s Little Bill. Most recently she created the look and animation style for the award-winning television series The Wonder Pets! Jennifer has directed over 15 short films that have been screened at festivals around the world. Her most recent film, The Music Box was just acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection. Jennifer lives and works in New York City as an independent filmmaker and artist.