7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #744: Featuring Paul Schmid

h1 May 23rd, 2021 by jules


Author-illustrator Paul Schmid’s newest book, a board book called Bunny! Don’t Play with Your Food (Andrews McMeel Publishing, April 2021), features an unforgettable (and determined) protagonist. Bunny gets a carrot for a snack, and what follows is nothing less than sheer drama (even some terror), thanks to Bunny’s abundant imagination. Bunny becomes a Bunnysaur, a Tiger Bunny, a Space Hero, a Giant Sea Monster, and even a zombie. Such drama, spawned by this one snack.

As always, Schmid conveys a lot with a little — simple shapes and uncluttered compositions. Irresistible Bunny — with massive ears, wide eyes, and a large pink nose — takes center stage in spreads reduced to their essentials (in this case, adventures with a carrot). Schmid underscores the suspense with the shrinking carrot; it grows smaller as Bunny imaginatively snacks. (But, no worries: Bunny has a clever solution in the end.) The book’s visual pacing should keep the toddler set entranced. Expect giggles and “again! again!”

Paul visits today to explain the genesis of this book, as well as the slightly retro (and minimistically cinematic) look of some of Bunny’s adventures. I thank him for sharing!

* * *

Paul: Bunny’s story was inspired by my own rampantly imaginative daughter, Wren. If she is given cherries with stems still attached, they instantly become jousting knights. (Cherry juice is much valued as blood.)

Things could get serious, though. One day at the store she asked (begged) for us to buy some dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. By dinner time, she was very excited and impatient: “Why do they take so long to cook?! I’m sooooo hungry!” So, when they were finally out of the oven and on the table — with the required veggies — Wren quickly picked them up and started playing. “Rarh! Rarh!” she said.

Half a minute went by and Wren stopped. She looked up at me with tears forming in her eyes and said: “I can’t eat these. They’re my friends!”

I completely felt for her and loved her big open heart. Imagination is real for kids. In one of my proudest moments as a dad, I told Wren I understood and got her something else to eat. (I later ate the dino chicken myself, but don’t tell her that.)

This is the introductory spread, using “real” colors:


“Yay! Mom gave me a carrot for snack. Carrots are fun!”
(Click spread to enlarge)


Developing the style of the book, I was inspired by many things, including old Yogi Bear and Rocky and Bullwinkle background art.


“Watch as the hungry Tiger Bunny pounces on the tasty Carrotpotomus.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


I’m old enough to remember Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.


“Space Hero Bunny battles the evil Zorks in their Carrotship.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


I originally had the worm popping out of a hole in Bunny’s head, but eventually decided to not invite trouble.


“Bunny the Zombie …”
(Click spread to enlarge)


I have to say that creating a children’s book is the most satisfying artistic challenge I’ve yet found, because it has the potential for so much. It is a complex object. Fourteen or more spreads to play with and make cohesive and varied. Taking just the visual aspect, it must have a theme. A color theme; compositional theme; value range, wide or narrow; deciding point of view, close-ups, distance scenes. And all of it must aid in telling the verbal, visual, emotional, and logical aspects of the story.

And all with subtle or bold variations on each theme. I imagine it must be similar to writing all the parts and movements for a symphony. (Not that I’ve ever done that.)

Then there is the dance between words and pictures — each expressing what the other doesn’t, yet also leaving much for the interpretation and understanding of the reader.

It always takes a while to develop the design of the character. Nothing but fun to be had doing that:





Laying out gesture and movement:


(Click to enlarge)


My color plan for Bunny! shows some of my thinking on just one element — color. The orange carrot was going to drive things, of course. Blue being the complimentary of orange, I wanted to have that as a strong presence. Greens were basically the only other color I worked with boldly, it being in the blue side, allowing the orange carrot to stand out in a punchy way. The real scenes were done in pale pastels, while the scenes featuring Bunny’s imagination were far more intense (as imagination can sometimes be, when compared to reality!).


(Click to enlarge)


Here’s an early joke — Elephbunny frightend by a mousearot.



Snowman: My favorite joke that just couldn’t find a place in the final book.



Another unused joke: An early idea for the first endpages and title page. My little bunny is somewhat dramatic.




I have a whole page on my website devoted to Bunny! There are coloring pages [pictured below], mazes, stickers [pictured below], t-shirts — even posters [pictured below]. Can you tell I’ve had fun with this book?




(Click to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

BUNNY! DON’T PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD. Copyright © 2021 by Paul Schmid. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City. All iamges here reproduced by permission of Paul Schmid.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

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. New kickers are always welcome.

1) Dinner with friends for the first time in over a year.

2) With strawberry pie.

3) Sharing books.

4) Walks.

5) It’s been 35 years of Peter Gabriel’s So (a masterpiece). Lowland Hum covered the album, each brilliant track. I wasn’t so sure if anyone else should ever attempt “Mercy Street”, on account that it is already perfect, but I listened anyway and love what they’ve done with it, especially that piano.

6) I’ve been wearing out this beautiful album (and remembering being in my 20s).

7) And I read this week that it’s been 25 years this since below, also a masterpiece. I feel old but still grateful.



What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #744: Featuring Paul Schmid”

  1. Oh Bunny, how fun you are. Who doesn’t imagine their food as something? I love the colors and loved reading about the way that Paul came up with the color scheme. And the unused jokes, the remains of the snowman is funny.
    Jules, yum, strawberry pie, I am calling our local fruit stand to see if the strawberries are here.
    My kicks:
    1. Celebrating another Poetry Friday contributor as she retires from 30+ years of teaching. So great to see the poem tributes to her all over the Internet.
    2. Summer planning.
    3. Time with other kid lit/YA poets over Zoom.
    4. Creating.
    5. Reading.
    6. Buying tomato plants.
    7. Organizing.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps! Hi Bunny and Paul and Wren!

    Jules: I’m glad you were able to share time and books and music.

    Jone: That sounds like an invigorating, creative week.

    My kicks:
    1) Space
    2) Time
    3) Process
    4) Processing
    5) Decided
    6) Gratitude
    7) Streaming

  3. Love this bunny – Zombie funny and snowman bunny are pretty great.

    Jules – hooray for dinner with friends and strawberry pie! So is one of my all-time favorite albums, its such a big part of my memories from college because we played it/listened to it so much then. (I am an old.) Got that and Nancy Griffin and Dodie Clark and Jeri Southern on rotation on Spotify now.

    Jone – yay for reading, organizing, summer planning and buying tomato plants.

    Little Willow – space and time and decided and gratitude are such wonderful kicks. Really love decided especially this week.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Discovering The Linda Lindas – they rock so hard and are so awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5AhU5Q7vH0
    2) Watched Netflix’s Moxie and liked it. The Linda Lindas make an appearance in it too.
    3) Loving the sharp comedy and writing and performances on Hacks.
    4) Watched The Great Muppet Caper and its still great. Charles Grodin was a treasure.
    5) Testified in front of the state legislature against a bad bill and got some great feedback afterwards from a colleague. Hoping I made an impact.
    6) Hugs! Went to my first small gathering in well over a year – a going away party for a friend who is moving. So wonderful to see friends and get to hug them too!
    7) On Friday Daisy had her first underwater treadmill session since surgery and she was so happy to see her friends and get back in the water.
    7.5) Waffles.

    Have a great week Imps!

  4. Rachel: GO RACHEL! (That’s for kick #5.) Yay, Daisy! Good puppy. Waffles are delicious. Glad you got to see friends and that you enjoyed some good movies and music.

  5. Jone, love that first kick. Do you have big travel plans for the summer?

    LW: I think gratitude keeps us all healthy. Glad you do it every week with us here at the kicksy posts.

    Rachel: So was high school for me! And it always makes me think of my late brother, who loved it so much. …. I saw headlines about The Linda Lindas and MUST watch that. Thanks for the reminder. Hacks is on my watch list too. Love your fifth kick too. Go, Daisy!

    have a good week, you all ….

  6. LW – thanks!

    Jules – I love the way music connects us while being special for our own unique reasons. So is such a great album.

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