Having been inspired last weekend by hearing Robert Sabuda speak in person at Knoxville’s children’s reading festival, today I’m featuring a pop-up artist, UK illustrator Simon Wild. Don’t you just want to hop into that fantastical, most fabulous flying machine up there?
Wild graduated from Cambridge School of Art in 2007 with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration. He has previously worked as an animator, film maker, video editor, and street performer and currently teaches art foundation at Ipswich School of Art and works from his studio—with a white cat named Gert—in Suffolk. Simon’s latest title, written by Timothy Knapman, is Fantastical Flying Machines. The book follows two children named Sally and Jack on an air race filled with hot air balloons, flying ice lollies, and bubble gum rockets. I haven’t seen a copy myself, which was evidently released last Fall (Macmillan), but Simon tells me it features spinning, twirling, lift-the-flap pages, and a pop-up finale.
Here’s a bit more from Simon about the book and his thoughts on the value of interactive books for children today. I thank him for stopping by…
“Fantastical Flying Machines is my first book for children and traverses the two genres of lift-the-flap books and pop-up books. It tells the story of two children who enter a crazy air race, pursued by the dastardly Baron Von Bang Bang, who aims to cheat his way to the finish line. I conceived the story for the book; then writer Timothy Knapman brought it to life with his vibrant rhyming text.
I have been fascinated for most of my life by the narrative structures of children’s books. In particular, I am drawn to books that are interactive, books that use their physicality to expand the narrative of the stories they tell. When you are invited to engage physically with a book, you become part of the story, affecting its direction and outcomes. Being invited to apply an action to a page increases the chances of committing that story to memory — and enhancing user engagement.
In an accelerating world of digital innovation, I believe that ‘interactive’ books have never been more important to a child’s understanding of the physical world. Without books, cultural experiences remain virtual and untouchable.
I have always been interested in things in the sky, more so the things that might exist above the clouds that you can’t see. A world where the imagination can soar to new heights. A world where anything is possible.“
FANTASTICAL FLYING MACHINES. Copyright © 2010 by Timothy Knapman. Illustration copyright © 2010 by Simon Wild. Published by Macmillan. All images reproduced by permission of the illustrator.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.
1) Sam Phillips + L.A. Street art = my favorite little short film / video of hers:
2) I finally purchased Timber Timbre’s new CD. (Evidently, it’s pronounced “timber tamber,” but don’t quote me on that.) It’s called Creep On Creepin’ On. (No, really. It is.) It’s a haunting ode to someone having difficulty letting go of a lost love. On the surface in many songs are seemingly light-hearted, high-register doo-wop piano notes, but don’t let them fool you. This dude’s heart is broken.
“Black Water” is still my favorite song of 2011 (even if it is a tad bit too long maybe). Wanna listen?
3) Speaking of sunshine, which Timber Timbre does in “Black Water,” here’s a random image from a lovely gift I got this week. Denise Doyen sent me a belated birthday gift (and a thank-you-for-7-Imp-posts gift), which is a wonderful, quirky, little French book all about color, design, and shape — but mostly color. And I pored over it. And then I pored over it with my children. And we all love it.
I have A Very Real Thing for sun images (as I’m sure I’ve babbled about previously here at 7-Imp). I guess I take my chances posting a photograph of one of the book’s pages, but oh well. Visit me in copyright jail, should I go there. Bring good snacks. Please?
4) Here I am below speaking about picture books last weekend at Knoxville’s children’s festival of reading (picture is courtesy of Knox Co. Library), and what I love about this picture (other than the fact that some old college friends and their kids are in the front) is that it was taken right before my seven-year-old, pictured on the right, started cracking up over something I said about reading with my own children. That’s hardly to insinuate I’m a funny speaker; what I said wasn’t meant to be funny. It just cracked me up that she cracked up.
5) I love this picture of poet J. Patrick Lewis (used with his permission) with all the books that sprung forth from his mind. (Actually, for all we know and given his rampant creativity, that may be just some of them.) Have I mentioned The Poetry Foundation recently appointed him to a two-year tenure as the nation’s third Children’s Poet Laureate? I may have, but it certainly bears repeating again.
6) For Dylan fans: Here is author Gary Golio (remember this Hendrix picture book?) doing a recent radio interview with a DJ at WMMR, a Philadelphia rock station — all about his new picture book on Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie (which I covered here at Kirkus this week). If you listen to the end, you’ll hear that Golio’s current projects are a picture book about John Coltrane and a book on Charlie Chaplin. (And he’s considering one on Elvis.) Excellent.
7) Ninjabread men cookie cutters, which my friend gave to my girls as a gift. I know! High on the awesome-o-meter.
I’d love to hear your kicks this week. First, though …
These are very much not kicks but need to be said:
I was also sad to hear of the death of Gil Scott-Heron. Here’s my favorite of his: