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Last Fall, I did a small handful of posts in which I highlighted some new picture books for the wee’est of readers, and I never quite finished. One of those books (and more are to come, as I will get to them, even if in 2012), another book geared toward your toddler-sized readers, is Angela DiTerlizzi’s Say What?, illustrated by Joey Chou and released by Beach Lane Books in July of 2011.
The illustrations Joey shares today give you a good sense of the book, which ends with a wee human child, telling his mother how much he loves her. This is always good for toddlers. (In fact, I envision this book as becoming a board book one day. Hey, good idea. Should I call the editor? “Jules WHO?” Seriously, I hope they consider it. It’d work.) This one is also good for, as the Kirkus reviewer noted, preschoolers who enjoy language play.
The book’s back-flap bio for Joey—an alumni and graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, who was born in Taiwan but now lives in Los Angeles—indicates that he likes to draw furry monsters. Go see his site, and that’s clear by the welcoming illustration there, which I like and which makes me laugh.
Angela, who visited me in 2009 for breakfast, is here this morning to say a bit about the book, and I thank her for stopping by…
Angela: “Having a young child is a constant source of inspiration for any parent. But for me, as an author of books for children, in those everyday moments, anecdotes, and experiences, I can’t help but find seeds for new book ideas.
The seed for my picture book Say What? was no exception.
I wrote Say What? when our daughter, Sophia, was just under a year old, and my days were happily filled with reading aloud books by Dr. Seuss, Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Carle, and Ruth Krauss — and Mary Blair’s retro masterpiece, I Can Fly. I love the repetition, rhyme, and their simple, yet stylized, illustrations.
At the same time, our little one was busily learning about cows, roosters, kitties, and the noises they make. I wondered, what are animals really saying with their everyday sounds? And, can animals understand their babies MOOs and BAAs like parents differentiate between their baby’s GOOs and GAAs? While rocking Sophia in the nursery one early morning, I heard a horse whinny from the farm behind our Massachusetts home. I thought to myself, when a horse says NEIGH, does she really mean HAY?
Then I began to write.
I shared the manuscript with my husband, Tony, and he encouraged me to show it to his editors at Simon & Schuster. Much to my delight, they loved the concept and passed the story along to Allyn Johnston and Andrea Welch, the amazingly talented duo of editors at Beach Lane Books.
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Enter the ubertalented illustrator Joey Chou. A designer/friend/agent shared his work with me, and we thought it was the perfect fit. His crisp, colorful illustrations and perfectly anthropomorphized animals were exactly the style of artwork I was hoping would be paired with my text.
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From the manuscript’s earliest stages, I have had the wonderful and enlightening experience of reading Say What? aloud to children in libraries and classrooms, including our daughter’s preschool class. I am always delighted to hear kids anticipating the rhyme, giggling at the illustrations, and hollering out their best animal impersonations. Indeed, when writing, I strive to create an interactive and engaging experience for readers to share and enjoy — and to encourage reading and a love of words from the earliest of ages. With Say What?, I hope I’ve done just that.“
Thanks again to Angela for visiting. Here’s an October 2011 interview with a Massachusetts publication, and here are a couple more spreads. Enjoy.
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SAY WHAT? Copyright © 2011 Angela DiTerlizzi. Illustrations copyright © 2011 Joey Chou. Published by Beach Lane Books, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Joey Chou.
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.
Also, I just now found this:
SNORT LAUGH. That happened to me a few years ago. It did. That part where she screams in terror? It can happen.
2) My brain cells seem to have atrophied over the holiday break. But I’ve gotten some work done, and so far, so good.
3) This is a thing of beauty. It’s evidently from James Brown’s Soul Train-esque show (that aired on WTBS in Atlanta from 1976-1978, if my information is correct). It was reportedly a short-lived show.
5) I’m reading this wonderful novel below. It’s writing that is good in many, many ways.
6) I love that an author/illustrator has his own bandcamp page. This is from Phil Stead. His books and music are good. Be sure to listen to “Stay Calm, Act Natural,” though I think my favorite will always be “On the Tall Waves.” Shoot, they’re all good.
Speaking of videos, I think this is a well-done book trailer, don’t you? (I think it was done by a start-up company. Impressive, huh?) Also, wow, that looks like a good book.
BONUS #1: This animation blows me away.
BONUS #2: Thanks to David Elzey for considering me a Versatile Blogger.
Two Quick Notes:
*** Blogger Aaron Mead at Children’s Books and Reviews has just added an e-book to his site, titled How to Choose Children’s Books: Practical Tips and Philosophical Reflections on Picking Books for Kids. He’s been working on it for the past year or so and is giving it away free as a resource for parents, teachers, and anyone else that might find it useful. There are links to the download page in this post.
*** This video from the online bookseller Better World Books features a young man in Oklahoma City who has benefited from their “Book for Book” program, which donates a book to someone in need every time someone buys a book on Better World Books. (The organization collects and sells books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide.) Thought some of you might want to know about that organization.
What are YOUR kicks this week?