Gingerbread Pancakes with
Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee

h1 September 8th, 2009 by jules

I wish I could take credit for being the photographer of this photo of author Liz Garton Scanlon and author/illustrator Marla Frazee, because then that would mean I’d been in Malibu, where this picture was taken in November of last year. Alas, it was not I.

But I am here this morning, sharing a cyber-breakfast and conducting a joint Q&A with these talented ladies. And there are three reasons why. (Not seven reasons, for once, but I’m sure I can come up with four more. Quite easily.)

1. Liz—who has been published widely in literary journals; who is an adjunct professor of creative writing at Austin Community College; and whose first and most recent picture book was 2004’s A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes: A Pocket Book, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (HarperCollins)—is a writer I like to follow. A Sock is a Pocket…, as I wrote here at 7-Imp back in 2007, is a lively tribute to imaginative thinking. And when Kirkus Reviews, in your debut picture book title, compares your writing to Ruth Krauss’—as they did with Liz’s—well…If I were Liz, that would be a compliment that would be a pocket for my self-esteem. The writing in Liz’s brand-new—and second—picture book title, which I’ll get to in a second, is a thing of beauty. With just two books under her belt, I read her titles and find myself wishing, Yeah. I wish I could write like THAT. There is an unadorned grace that exudes from her writing that can trick you into thinking that what she does is easy. And her blog, Liz in Ink, is one of my favorite cyber-stops for heartfelt (no saccharin there) inspiration, humor, and beauty.

2. Marla Frazee. What can I say? I’ve been a fan for years, and I’ve always wanted her to stop by for a breakfast chat. The images Marla provided for this interview are pretty much all, in some way, related to the picture book she just illustrated, Liz’s newest title. And, in a warped way, that makes me feel relieved: I won’t need to pick book cover images of her other titles to fill up this Q&A. ‘Cause, quite frankly, it would just be too hard to pick my favorites. She’s illustrated too many books over the years that I’ve loved and shared with children of all ages. Okay, well, fine: I’ll mention her most recent title, as it was wonderful in about seven different directions, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever (Harcourt, 2008), chosen as a 2009 Caldecott Honor title as well as a 2008 Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book in the category of Picture Books. I covered its greatness here at 7-Imp last year.

In their review of that title, Kirkus wrote that A Couple of Boys… is “{a}s respectful of kid sensibilities and priorities as it’s possible for an adult to achieve.” I’d say that about all of Marla’s work. In fact, if you read this interview, you’ll see that—in my question to Marla about the differences between illustrating picture books and chapter books—she discusses why “the picture book audience {is} the most discerning, observant, critical, and appreciative group that we illustrators will ever have the privilege of serving.” I’m trying really hard right now not to pull that out as a HUGELY huge quote in very large font and draw it to your attention, because reading that made me very happy. It’s Marla’s great respect for the child reader that makes me grateful she’s out there instructing new generations of illustrators (which she also addresses below). And it’s her expressive, affectionate watercolors—which somehow come across as delicate and robust at the same time—which draw me to her books.

3. All the World. This is Liz’s and Marla’s collaboration, released this month by Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. (I think it’s altogether possible that it is being released today, but don’t quote me on that. If so, can you believe my timing? I swear I’m not even organized enough to plan that kind of thing.) Did I already mention this book is a thing of beauty? Why, yes, I did. But I’m happy to say it again. This is a book about connections: The publisher likes to describe it as a book that “affirms the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to warm family connections, to the widest sunset sky.” I’m not at all surprised that this text came from Liz, who once wrote at her blog (still one of my favorite posts) when writing about education, that we need more “awareness, perception, taking note…there is (there should be) a time for absorption, for paying very close attention.”

Early All the World cover sketch, with Marla’s type

Final cover

They’re both joining me for breakfast this morning to talk about this title and a few other things. I should note that Liz was here at 7-Imp in 2007 for an interview, so more information on Liz can be found there and… you know, I’ve already Pivot’ed her and such. (She gave my favorite answer thus far to the what-sound-or-noise-do-you-love question.)

Mmm. Coffee.Liz says her dream breakfast would be strong coffee and gingerbread pancakes, “but I’ve switched to decaf and pancakes knock me out. I’m a fan of smoothies for the same reason I’m a fan of soup: You mix all the stuff from your fridge together and it tastes good.” Marla’s breakfast-of-choice is an extra hot latte and a cigarette, “but I haven’t smoked for thirty years, and—when I did smoke—lattes weren’t a daily option. So, I’ve never really had that breakfast.” How about we go with Liz’s breakfast-for-dreamers then: I say we go all out and have that strong coffee and those gingerbread pancakes. Sorry, Liz, but it’s a special occasion. Plus, decaf is the devil’s blend in my world (though I’ve got a pot of decaf just for you), and how can we resist GINGERBREAD PANCAKES?

I thank both Liz and Marla for stopping by.

* * * * * * *

7-Imp: How long did it take to write All the World? What, in particular, made you want to write these words (which strike me as quite Zen-like)?

Liz: I’m always a little embarrassed to say how many hours I spend on a few hundred words, because people start looking askance at me. I wrote the bulk of the text at a fevered pitch in one month and then worked on it for four more months with our editor, Allyn Johnston. And still I was sad to let it go. I’m loathe to call anything finished.

I don’t know where the idea came from, really, except for a fascination with connections. The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone… that sort of thing. Somehow that really tangible start exploded open into all the little and big things that are related and united in our world.

7-Imp: I can’t imagine a better fit for this book than Marla as illustrator. Did you get to choose who would illustrate it? What was that process like?

Liz: Marla explains this below (while revealing me as a bit of anarchist), so I think I’ll let her have the floor. But I do want to say that when I got the note from Allyn that read, “Um, Marla is so totally doing this story,” I cried. Flat-out cried.

7-Imp: What was it like to see her art work for the first time?

Liz: Knee-buckling.

7-Imp: You write a lot at your blog about your school visits. How do they inform your writing?

{Ed. Note: Pictured right is Liz. If you’re a consistent reader of her blog, you know that you’ll most likely find her dressed like this, all geared up for a hiking or camping adventure.}

Liz: Sometimes I really think school visits are the whole point of this endeavor. The kids I talk with remind me—in often vivid and hilarious ways—to keep it real.

7-Imp: Do you still get tremendous benefits as a writer from your blogging, or do you ever feel like it gets in the way of work?

Liz: I wish I were a better blogger. I wish I was organized enough to create a graspable theme and plan regular features and include more photos — the things I admire in other blogs, notably 7-Imp! But I’m sort of whim-based. I do love the practice -– it’s good for the craft and builds an amazing community, both wide and deep. But yes, sometimes keeping it up gets in the way of work and when it does, I drop it like a hot potato. I’m not wildly reliable that way.

My favorite blog exercise ever was writing a haiku every day in April for National Poetry Month. That felt really central to my work and not a distraction in the least.

7-Imp: Speaking of blogging, your Poetry Friday posts always strike a chord with me. Any new poets (or old, for that matter) you’re reading now whom you can recommend?

Liz: I have some good friends from grad school days whose poetry is scary-good. They include Jill Alexander Essbaum, Joe Hoppe, and Marlys West.

7-Imp: When you “get stuck” during writing, what gets you unstuck? What gets you going again?

{Ed. Note: Pictured here is Liz’s writing space, an old library table.}

Liz: If I had an answer for this, I would get an idea patent and make a ton of money. I’m definitely a middle-of-the-night, waiting-for-my-muse kind of writer. Discipline is not my middle name. When I get stuck, I fret and worry. And when something comes knocking, I get back to work.

7-Imp: I know this kind of question might sound a bit trite, but I’m going to ask anyway: If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out who wants to get a picture book text published, what would that advice be?

Liz: Oh, gosh. It’s not trite -– it’s just hard. I guess I’d say, “Go with your gut.” Meaning, write not what you think will sell but what’s begging to be written.

7-Imp: What’s next for you? Any designs on ever writing a novel? Or do picture books steal your heart entirely?

Liz: Well, I’ve got started three longer pieces—one middle-grade novel, one historical novel, and one YA—but I’m inevitably sidetracked by my latest picture book idea. Which may mean I’m ruined forever for anything more than 300 words. Time will tell…

{Ed. Note: Another quick reminder that I interviewed Liz in ’07. Her responses to the Pivot Questionnaire—and much more—are over there.}

* * * * * * *

Marla, taking a break with Rocket

7-Imp: Tell us about bringing Liz’s words to life with your art. What drew you to this text?

Marla: Okay, I’m gonna spill it. And since you’ve also got Liz over for breakfast, she can chime in, contradict, or concur.

On January 30th, 2007, I got an email from someone named Liz Garton Scanlon, asking me if I would consider illustrating a manuscript she had written. I opened the attachment expecting something not-good (because, let’s face it, that’s what would usually be attached to an email of this nature), and I was completely blown away. It was great. I emailed back, “I love it. Can we talk?” and sent my phone number. When she called, I said something along the lines of, “Who ARE you?” because it seemed to me like she was way too amazing of a writer to be sending off a manuscript in this way. It was completely against the Children’s Book Publishing Rules! But she knew that and she did it anyway. Which should tell you everything you need to know about Liz Garton Scanlon. She said I could forward it to my editor, Allyn Johnston, who at that time was the Editor in Chief of Harcourt Children’s Books, and is now the VP and Publisher of Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Marla’s thumbnail sketches from All the World
(Click to enlarge.)

Liz: Yep. It’s all true, what Marla says. I sort of blame it on having a head cold -– it mucked up my inhibitions and sense of convention. I’m pretty sure our editor would like me to assert here that this is still not the recommended practice. But boy-oh-man, am I glad I was foolhardy enough to press “send.”

Marla: (May I be allowed a digression? On that day, Allyn was in her office on the 18th floor of 525 B Street in San Diego, heading an editorial department of fifteen people -– some in San Diego, some in NY. The offices of Harcourt Children’s Books looked out over the city, the bay, and the airport. Many people were bustling about—sales and marketing people, publicity people, editors, art directors, designers, and production people—some of whom had been there for two decades. The hallways were adorned with posters of books past, present, and future. There were multitudes of books –- in stacks, in boxes, and on shelves. A receptionist in a fancy front office controlled the foot traffic and the phone calls. Now, two and half years later, this place is gone. Totally gone. For those of you around the country who think that publishing has always been a NY/Boston kind of thing, I just wanna say, you should have seen the kind of first-class operation that was going on for twenty-five years in California. It was awesome. And I miss it a lot.)

Allyn Johnston, VP and Publisher of Beach Lane Books

Allyn bought Liz’s story (which I have heard Liz refer to as Wind, so I will, too), and I planned to start it after I finished working on a prayer that I had been trying to illustrate for about ten years. When I finally gave up on that stupid prayer, Allyn seemed relieved. I think she was as tired of it as I was. Luckily, we had Wind waiting in the wings. So I sunk into that, and I was very happy.

A few weeks later, Allyn called and said, “Oh my God! I just got something new from Liz that you have to illustrate! It’s doing everything you wanted that prayer to do, but it is doing it better. It’s called All the World. And you need to start it right away!” Not being in any mood to switch gears again, I half-heartedly told Allyn she could send it over, but I really hoped I wouldn’t like it.

Of course, I loved it. And Liz, no one’s rule-follower, agreed that All the World should be next.

Sketch from All the World
(Click to enlarge.)

Liz: Marla, I have an email you sent that day that says something like, “Honey, you’re making my life really freaking complicated over here in Pasadena, CA.” It got a little crazy there for awhile…

Marla: True. And this kind of juggling is not all that unusual. It is about timing, passion, and following the heat. Or, as Liz so aptly put it, going with your gut.

7-Imp: You talk at your site about creating via illustrations that essential sequential action for a picture book, the visual narrative. Was that challenging to do with Liz’s purposely expansive text, words that don’t entail a specific dramatic action, but that are intentionally all-encompassing? (In other words, it’s not Johnny and Sue did “a” and then “b” — and then “c” happened. Instead, it’s “everything is you and me.”)

Marla: One of the many reasons I fell in love with Liz’s text was because it didn’t have an “a” and then “b” and then “c” kind of thing. It allowed me to puzzle out the narrative –- and in this case, whether or not it should even have a narrative. And if so, how much of one? I am drawn to manuscripts that allow for a lot of freedom in interpreting the words.

Here is some background into how I arrived at some of the imagery in All the World:

My grandfather, Billy, who inspired the grandfather in All the World

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

Watercolor I did of Phantom Ranch Cantina at bottom of Grand Canyon,
inspiration for café in
All the World

Sketch of the café
(Click to enlarge.)

Final spread
(Click to enlarge.)

San Simeon pier and . . .

. . . the view from Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur . . .

. . . both inspired this image.
(Click to enlarge.)

I decided to set All the World along a fictional stretch of what looks like the central coast of California, one of my all-time favorite places.

I checked out a lot of California mission architecture . . .

. . . including Pasadena City Hall . . .

. . . and combined it all to create the setting:

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

7-Imp: I’ve always particularly loved the atmosphere of inclusion in your illustrations – that you paint folks of all colors, all races, all backgrounds. I even spot same-sex couples in many of your spreads (or at least couples that could pass for same-sex couples). You manage to pull this off without seeming as if you’re trying to be politically correct, as if you’re…well, simply showing us all the world. Is depicting this inclusion in books for children important to you?

Marla: Yeah, the “atmosphere of inclusion” you mention is extremely important to me. And not just in books. But books are where I am able to exert some control.

7-Imp: Tell us about your studio.

Marla: I adore my studio. It’s in our backyard under an avocado tree. It’s got a plywood floor and no running water. I run into the house often, where we are indeed lucky enough to have indoor plumbing. I love spending the day drawing or painting in my studio, but—when I write—I go to various coffee houses in Pasadena or sit at my dining room table.

7-Imp: What is it about watercolor and pencil that you love as a medium?

Marla: What I love is line. I start with line (usually pencil, but sometimes ink) and then paint with a medium that is transparent enough to show the line.

7-Imp: Can you briefly tell us your road to publication?

Marla: I knew I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator from the time I was in first or second grade. I loved books, loved to read, and most of all, loved to draw. I attended Art Center College of Design and graduated with a degree in illustration on a Friday in 1981. The following Monday I went to work at Disney Studios in their story department. I quit that job after six excruciating weeks (because I couldn’t deal with the time-card or the Mickey Mouse name-tag) and began doing freelance illustration. I worked for many years doing all manner of commercial illustration—advertising, editorial, educational and mass-market publishing, toys, games, coloring books, cereal boxes, NFL products, McDonald’s Happy Meals boxes, etc.—before I finally broke into trade publishing {and} was able to illustrate the kind of children’s books I always wanted to do.

It was hard. The Children’s Book Illustration class I teach at Art Center is based on what I learned about becoming a less commercial, more narrative, illustrator.

Sketch from All the World
(Click to enlarge.)

7-Imp: How does that teaching affect your own work as an illustrator?

Marla: Teaching informs my own work in a million ways. I stand outside the students’ process as their cheerleader/critic (hopefully in that order), and that distance helps me see things in them and in their work that I hadn’t been able to previously see in myself or my own work. We all struggle in the classroom to articulate ideas, opinions, and evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and I make new discoveries right along with the students. I strive to have my class be a picture book illustration laboratory –- with me wearing the lab coat!

Kidding! I don’t really wear a lab coat.

7-Imp: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up? (If the process is different when you write and illustrate your own title, such as with Roller Coaster, you are welcome to address that as well.)

Marla: Usually it’s a combo approach of thinking, doodling, gathering research, developing characters, doing thumbnail sketches, emptying the dishwasher very slowly, eating tortilla chips out of the bag, reading all the fine print on the junk mail, talking up the neighbors, driving long distances by myself with the music blaring, returning home with odd purchases that no one needs, and then circling back to the thinking and doodling. It is very scientific.

7-Imp: Are there drastic differences between illustrating picture books and chapter books, such as Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series? Obviously, there are fewer illustrations, but is your approach to illustrating fundamentally different between the two?

Marla: There are drastic differences. I think the picture book is the most demanding form for the children’s book illustrator, because the pictures are contributing at least as much to the narrative as the words are. Sometimes more.

I assume that the child reading a picture book is not yet a reader of words, and so they still have the remarkable gift of being an expert picture-reader. This seems to me to be one of the few skills we possess as children and then lose as we age. It makes the picture book audience the most discerning, observant, critical, and appreciative group that we illustrators will ever have the privilege of serving. Imagine playing a violin in front of world-class violinists. When we illustrate a picture book, we are drawing pictures for an audience of picture-reading virtuosos. If it doesn’t scare and humble us as illustrators, then we aren’t paying enough attention to what these pre-readers are able to see.

Illustrating the Clementine books is a different experience. I look for the spaces in the text where I can add detail, give weight to some event, reinforce humor, wink obliquely, allow for a visual pause, and—most importantly—deepen the emotional moments. But, essentially, I don’t want the illustrations to make the child stop reading because they have to process too much information in the pictures. I feel like I am adding a rhythm section to Sara’s perfectly attuned writing and I can help keep the beat going.

Sketch from All the World
(Click to enlarge.)

7-Imp: Do you do school visits? What are they like?

Marla: Yes, I do. And I am usually really grouchy about them. When the day arrives, I wish that I were spending it in my studio. I tell myself that this is the very last school visit I will ever do. I think about how I don’t even like kids all that much. At least in the collective sense.

And then I walk into the classroom or auditorium and the kids are all sitting cross-legged on the floor or they are lining up outside and they are so damn beautiful. A few of them will connect with me in secret eyeball language. And I immediately fall head over heels for them.

I talk about my own childhood, show pictures, and draw. Afterward, I collect hugs from girls and mumbles from boys and go home feeling like an idiot for being so grouchy about such an incredible experience. And then, to make me feel even more like a schmuck, I may find an envelope in my mailbox a week or so later, crammed full of crayoned letters thanking me for coming.

7-Imp: Tell us about the logo you created for Beach Lane Books.

Marla: I wrote this piece for the Beach Lane launch brochure, describing how I arrived at the logo:

Allyn grew up on the beach in Malibu, and she lives at the beach in San Diego today. The beautiful and various moods of the ocean are as much a part of Allyn’s life as books are, and it is no wonder that her imprint will reflect this influence.

Throughout my life in Southern California, I have spent many hours at the beach, too. When the afternoon sun is low on the horizon, everyone and everything—adult, child, Frisbee, dog—is cast into glorious silhouette. When Allyn asked me to design the logo for her new imprint, I hoped to capture that sense of shimmering light, as well as the tangible feeling of walking barefoot on wet sand, bucket in hand, looking for treasure.

To me, Beach Lane Books embodies exactly that spirit of what a day at the beach offers—the wide scope combined with the intimate experience of personal discovery.

Marla at the beach

7-Imp: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Marla: Where the Wild Things Are, Blueberries for Sal, The Carrot Seed, and all the Beverly Cleary books (especially those illustrated by Louis Darling).

7-Imp: If you could have three (living) illustrators or author/illustrators — whom you have not yet met — over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Marla: Well, first off, it would be wine, because—generally speaking—illustrators tend to be shy. Then I’d see if Mini Grey, Olaf Landström, and Marc Simont would want to come and hang out on my front porch. And, if they did, I’d make some hummus.

7-Imp: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell us about?

Marla: I am writing and illustrating a picture book called The Boss Baby (Beach Lane Books) and working on the fourth Clementine (Disney – Hyperion).

Image from The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane Books, Fall 2010)

7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Marla: That I wouldn’t do karaoke for even a million, zillion, bazillion dollars.

Liz: (Umm-hmm. That’s what she used to say about pedicures.)

7-Imp: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.

Marla: Q – Marla, since you worked so hard on this interview, 7-Imp would like to offer you a full year stay in our apartment in Paris. Would you care to take us up on that?

A – Yes, please.

{Ed. Note: Er, right. Now, where did I put those keys to the cottage? Oh well, will have to find those later.}

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Marla: “Wow.”

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Marla: “Ma’am.”

7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Marla: A morning hike in the hills with my dog, Rocket.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Marla: Math.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Marla: Love ’em all. Alone and in combination.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?

Marla: My electric pencil sharpener.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?

Marla: Police helicopters.

7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Marla: Barista.

7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?

Marla: Work in the story department at Disney Studios.

7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Marla: “The weather up here will make your hair straight.”

* * * * * * *

All images in the Liz-portion of the interview are courtesy of Liz Garton Scanlon. All rights reserved.

All other photos, sketches, illustrations—with the exception of the Clementine cover—are courtesy of Marla Frazee. All rights reserved.

ALL THE WORLD. Text copyright © 2009 by Liz Garton Scanlon. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Marla Frazee. Published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

* * * * * * *

Note: Don’t forget Jama Rattigan’s wonderful July 2008 interview with Marla. It’s here. Enjoy.

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34 comments to “Gingerbread Pancakes with
Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee”

  1. Well, geez, we knew Liz was gorgeous, but check out the wattage on that smile!

    How exciting to look at another artist’s studio. I love that Marla is so able to parlay well beloved and familiar places into the ethereal sketches that make up this book — which is on its way to my mailbox and I CANNOT WAIT! This was a much needed and restful little sidetrip to the day. Great interview as always, ladies!

  2. Fantastic post! Liz, that pic of you in the blue–wow. Great sneak peek at All the World, which I am waiting for now (can’t wait to see it/devour it)! Fascinating to see the inspiration for the art–and I want that cute little studio! I am inspired. Thanks, all of you!

  3. What a morning! I just feasted on muffins, words, and art at Jama Rattigan’s blog, and now I’m nibbling gingerbread pancakes and sipping strong coffee. A lot of happiness is in my typing fingers; I have to take a break and come back and feast more on these words and pictures later. Thank you!

  4. Fabulous interview. I love secret eyeball language. And, oh, how I pine for straight hair …

  5. Terrific post – I picked the book up the other day and remain gobsmacked. Love the interview, particularly Marla’s sharing the source of her images . . . so great!!

  6. I dove deep into my copy of All the World when it arrived, and it’s glorious all on its own. But to read this, and see the arc of its creation . . . wowza.

    P.S. Boss Baby made me bust out laughing. Every line in that drawing is quivering with his infantile bossiness.

  7. This is a “died and gone to heaven” interview. Two of my very favorite picture book people in the same place. ALL THE WORLD has done me in. Totally totally beautiful.

    Loved seeing Marla’s location photos/inspiration for her illos. That first photo of the two of them is GORGEOUS!!

    And how happy am I that Marla’s least favorite word is “Ma’am?” It always makes me cringe.

    Gingerbread pancakes :). The “unadorned grace” that you speak of is spot on. Love Liz’s writing. (I want to be like her when I grow up.)

    Thanks so much, ladies!

  8. Oh sheesh. I’ve cried like 4 times today and it’s just barely 9 a.m.

    Jules — thank you for having us to breakfast. You really know how to host a shindig — making a gal comfortable and making her blush all at the same time.

    (And thank you, Tanita, Laura, Jeannine, Loree, Kelly, Sara and Jama for saying so many incredibly nice things about our book. I can just about go to bed happy now except that it’s only morning and Jules made me drink that full-strengh high-octane joe.)

    Cheers, you all…

  9. Oh, I love this interview — my favorite ever.

    And I love this book, too. Straight hair or curly, opening it is a bit of heaven on earth.

  10. What could get me to get off my duff and comment here for the first time?

    An interview with Marla, of course. And how very nice to get to know Liz Garton Scanlon as well. Brilliant interview. Marla is the most stylist, hippest, good-looking artist I’ve ever met in my life. And I’ve met a lot. She’s an anomaly to me. And Boss Baby will be on the NY Times Bestseller List. Calling it right now. Coffee and cigarettes for breakfast? What a level-headed high-functioning rebel.

  11. crazy beautiful. the book AND its mamas.

  12. Now see, this is EXACTLY the reason why 7-Imp deserves the nomination (and the win, if it comes to that) for best KidLit blog. The other nominees are great, too, but jeez…

    In the cover for All the World, notice how the taller kid is on the left, the shorter on the right. Then notice the big cumulus cloud they’re silhouetted against. The easy choice for an illustrator would be to put the tall kid on the right, so the kids’ heights parallel the heights of the bumps in the cloud. And yet this seems just great, and in a subtle way underscores the message of the book: There are fewer differences than we think, and the differences there are aren’t that important.

    Darn. Why couldn’t I be a kid reading All the World (or having it read to me!) for the first time?!?

    What a fabulous team Liz and Marla make.

    Liz’s smile just jumps out of the photos and dares the viewer to be in a rotten mood.

    And I’m with Sara: Boss Baby just cracked, me, UP.

    (And although Marla didn’t mention this, about the Beach Lane imprint logo: Isn’t there another Simon & Schuster logo which features a… a… a sower, or whatever the word is? Checking… … … YEAH! Nice job, really nice job of sticking with the brand while stamping THIS sub-brand as its own creature, eh?)

  13. One beautiful write + one amazing artist = 1 fabulous book!

    Thanks for giving us the skinny on all things Liz and Marla. I can’t wait to read this book. I just know I’m going to cry like a baby …

  14. […] Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast presented an interview with the author and the illustrator of a new kids’ book. If you haven’t already, set […]

  15. Woah.

  16. Thanks for this great glimpse at two amazing creatives! Their spirits shine brightly through your interview and their amazing work speaks VOLUMES in just 300 words spread across the pages.

  17. Oh, I am days late here, DAYS! I blame school.

    Jason and I were reading All the World over again a few times yesterday going, “This is my favorite part.” “No, this is my favorite part.” “No, this.” “No, this.” It’s hard to pick. The words are so fun to read aloud (I think I’m going to try it in my 4 & 5-year-old storytime in a couple weeks), and the illustrations are stunning and perfect. Several of the spreads put us in mind of Virginia Lee Burton–the parallelism here and there, the circular elements, the hills. Love it, love it, love it.

    And I do believe I’d like to work in Liz’s and Marla’s studios.

    Also, I think I need to make gingerbread pancakes for breakfast tomorrow.

  18. I’m with Tammi, WOAH. WOW.
    Could Marla and Liz BE MORE AWESOME?
    This is my most favorite 7-Imp post of all time. Thank you, thank you.

  19. I absolutely adore All The World! Thanks for such a wonderful post. Excellent 🙂

  20. What a great interview! Thanks so much for giving us these lovely visions. I wish I had All the World in my hands so I could read it to all my library classes this week. I will just have to work on getting it ASAP!!

  21. Jules,

    Wonderful interview with Liz and Marla. I’m a big fan of Marla’s picture book art. I can’t wait to get a copy of ALL THE WORLD. It’s getting lots of starred reviews. I want to wish Liz, our fellow kidlit blogger, and Marla great success with their new book.

  22. Thank you guys, again, for such an amazing send off. It is so nice to have ATW out there living its life now…

  23. Thank you, Eisha and Jules for this delightful interview. Bunch of geniuses, all of you. This post is an oasis, a gift for all lovers of kid lit. Marla and Liz, you make the world a better place. Having grown up in Pasadena, surfed Malibu, basked in Big Sur, I can only sigh. I so relate to what you said about school visits. Ha! * All the World* is an exquisite work of art.

  24. […] A wonderful interview by Julie Danielson in her blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast will give you a sense of the presentation by Marla and the panel discussion between Liz and Marla and contains much of the same imagery. […]

  25. All the World is a dream for all of us, writers, illustrators, readers, a gift for the universe.

  26. I worked at Harcourt 25 years ago as a publicist and yes, it was an amazing atmosphere. I also sailed in the Caribbean for 6 months on a boat named Napenthe. Today, I live in Washington D.C. and represent Judythe Sieck the calligrapher and book designer, former creative director for Harcourt, now in Santa Fe. I’m a fan of Marla’s and hope our paths cross soon! Great interview. Thanks!

  27. Marla’s work is inspiring. Her integrity is evident in every brush stroke. Great interview. Thanks.

  28. […] well, one obvious case-in-point being the 2010 Caldecott Honor book, All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee. Publishers Weekly describes Scanlon’s rhyming couplets in Noodle & Lou as “sturdy […]

  29. […] by Stephanie. Stephanie also shares some sketches here, as well as sketches and art from Liz Garton Scanlon’s Happy Birthday, Bunny!, her debut illustrated title released by Beach Lane Books in January of this […]

  30. Would LOVE to see the English/Spanish version of, “All The World” printed in hardcover. I teach Spanish at a K-6 school and the paperback version is all I can get my hands on. Are there any plans to make a bigger hardback version??

  31. […] week at Kirkus, I’ve got two picture books all about moving — Liz Garton Scanlon’s The Good-Pie Party, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, and Rosemary Wells’s Stella’s […]

  32. […] of Kady MacDonald Denton’s early sketches forLiz Garton Scanlon’s The Good-Pie […]

  33. […] Author-illustrator Ashley Wolff is visiting today to share some sketches and art from Liz Garton Scanlon’s In the Canyon, published by Beach Lane this month. (Pictured above is an early sketch.) Liz and I […]

  34. […] website Author interview : The Children’s Book Review Author interview : Publishers Weekly Author interview : Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast Author interview : […]

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