As You Wish: A Visit with Greg Pizzoli

h1 September 8th, 2015 by jules


Author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli visits 7-Imp today to tell us a bit about his newest picture book, Templeton Gets His Wish (Disney-Hyperion, May 2015). I like this story and the way it swings from desperation to elation à la Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Templeton’s feelings are intense, as the feelings of young children tend to be, and in the end he sees the great error of his ways. It’s a book that unabashedly embraces its morality, and I look forward to sharing it with groups of children.

I don’t need to tell you the storyline, because Greg does so below. And I don’t need to describe the art, because Greg also shares some below. I thank him for visiting.

Let’s get right to it. … (p.s. This is the second time Greg’s visited 7-Imp this year. You have read Tricky Vic, right?)



Greg: Templeton Gets His Wish tells the story of a young cat who is tired of his family bossing him around and making him do things he doesn’t want to do — like, take baths, clean his room, and share his toys.


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One day, he sees an ad in a comic book for a magical, wish-granting diamond and does what I suspect many kids (and adults) occasionally wish they could do themselves: He wishes his family away.


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And he has a lot of fun, too …


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… but eventually realizes he’s better off with them around (even if they are annoying) and wishes them back. He’s got a good heart.


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As this book is about a character who doesn’t really like his family very much and as I still enjoy receiving the occasional Christmas card from my own relatives, I dedicated this book to my family. It seems to have gone over well for now. And if I don’t get an invite home for Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll send you an update.


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Templeton was printed in four spot colors — orange, green, blue, and black. The greys that sometimes come up are the black layer printed at a lower opacity. What this means is that each layer is drawn separately and printed one on top of another. I’ll show you what I mean:

A finished spread:


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And here’s just the orange:


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Orange and blue:


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Orange, blue, and green:


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All four colors again — orange, blue, green, and black:


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All my books so far with Disney-Hyperion use this spot-color process — and are the same size. The hope is that when they are on a shelf, they will feel like they are sort of a set.


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Like all of the books that I’ve both written and illustrated, this book has a case cover which is different than the jacket, and I really went to town on the personal Easter-eggs for this one. The case cover itself is meant to feel like it’s the box that is delivered to Templeton’s front door, which contains the magic diamond.


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It even says FRAGILE-EEE (it must be Italian!), a joke I put in solely for my father’s benefit. Like I mentioned above, this book is dedicated “For my family” and the stamps on the outside of the box all represent a family member (or members) whom I felt I should include. The illustrations on the fake stamps and even the cost of each stamp allude to something about each of them, although I’m not sure even the family members themselves would get the references in the way I intended (if they do in fact peek under the jacket). But it makes it all feel more complete to me, and I’m always happy to throw in extra layers like this when I can.


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Some examples:

The “Healy” stamp is for my wife, Kay Healy. I was wrapping up Templeton right around our first wedding anniversary, and it seemed appropriate to make a stamp that used Templeton’s magic diamond as the stone on an engagement ring. It’s twenty-two cents, because we were married on the 22nd of June.

Another stamp example is this one I made for my Aunt Josephine and my greater family on my dad’s side. She hosts most of the holiday gatherings and makes an unbelievable pizzelle, my favorite cookie. Thus the image on her stamp. The “25” is for the holiday when she makes them most often — Christmas. I’m crossing my fingers for a double-batch this year.


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There’s only one other thing I feel like I should point out, and that’s the not-so-subtle homage I made in this book to one of my all-time favorite illustrators, Abner Graboff. The first book of his that I saw was I Know an Old Lady, and I still look at it often. My favorite spread from that book is the first utterance of “I guess she’ll die!” — and it was 100% the inspiration for the spread from Templeton below.


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Hope you’ll check out the book, possibly while avoiding your family.


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TEMPLETON GETS HIS WISH. Copyright © 2015 by Greg Pizzoli. Published by Disney-Hyperion, New York. All images used by permission of Greg Pizzoli.

6 comments to “As You Wish: A Visit with Greg Pizzoli”

  1. As the oldest of 5 kids I completely empathize with Templeton’s wish….Except for the end part.
    The case cover is brilliant. My favorite page here is the “His Family was gone.” He’s so happy he got his wish but the house and the background all being blue make his win hollow and 2D. I wish………..that I wrote this book.

  2. Wow. I think Templeton needs to loan me his diamond so I can be a picture book illustrator briefly. That stamp thing is THE COOLEST IDEA, EVER. What a beautiful additional layer to a picture book dedication!

    Man, I love the colors, the endpapers, and the whole idea that his primary wish is to be left alone. I love that this is celebrated – and then rescinded, allowing for the truth that all of us occasionally wish that our relatives would go “poof” occasionally — and that it’s just a feeling, and that it won’t last. LOVE this.

  3. This is great! Love the stamps and getting to see behind the spot color process. I make pizzelles; not just at Christmas but year round! They are gone as fast as I can make them!

  4. I love reading this–another great explanation of the four color process. It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around this process and the illustrations really help.
    Thanks! Lovely.

  5. Stamps!!!! So brilliant and love all the secret connections to everyone. Such a tender book altogether.

  6. […] to him, I was sold! He explains that and more on Julie Danielson‘s wonderful blog here at Seven Imps 😀 […]

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