This morning, for my last breakfast interview of 2011, I welcome one of the hardest-working illustrators (and authors and designers) in children’s literature, whom the Washington Post described as “one of the most dynamic, original, colorful and humorous cartoonists working today.” Just this year, Bob Staake—who is also an editorial illustrator, as well as a cover illustrator for the New Yorker—illustrated two titles, if I’m counting correctly, and a visit to this page of his site shows he has nearly ten titles soon to be released. As he notes below, he is author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s books to-date in his career.
If Staake didn’t consistently produce such exciting illustrations (of great “compositional flair and imagination,” in the words of Booklist), to me he’d merely be That Blessed Guy Who Took On the Contemporary Adaptation of Struwwelpeter. (Yes, he has a special place in my heart for his gutsy 2006 re-imagining of Heinrich Hoffmann’s 19th-century cautionary tale for children.) But he does much more, bringing readers colorful and engaging books (particularly engaging in the case of this year’s Look! A Book! from Little, Brown) on a regular basis, his bold, graphic, and highly stylized digital artwork providing a feast for young eyes. (Drawn went so far as to write in this 2006 interview, “To say that Bob Staake is just an illustrator is like saying The Beatles were just a bunch of musicians; the title doesn’t do the artist justice.”) Best of all, as he writes at his site, his books range from “the goofy and silly to the thought-provoking and mysterious.” With both words and pictures, he adds, he aims to entertain but also ask young readers to “wonder, question and think.”
And, as you can see in some of the art Bob shares below, his work can be refreshingly honest and wickedly funny. (His Facebook status updates still remain one of the top-five reasons I don’t just drop my account already. A recent example of Bob engaging with his readers: “Santa’s List Of Rejected Reindeer Names:” … And let me just say Bob has funny friends, and I’m talkin’ to you, Michael Herron, who responded with “Sphincter.” Jimmy Mutch’s “Thud” comes in a close second for me.)
Well, let’s turn it over to Bob now, shall we? He says he’s not a huge breakfast guy, unless I include a pot of French Roast before noon. Ah. A coffee-lover after my own heart. I’ll get the basics from him, while the coffee brews.
I thank him for visiting. Read the rest of this entry �