Monday, October 09, 2006

Diggin' that Motown sound...

Actually, it wasn't Detroit proper, it was Dearborn. Great Lakes Booksellers Association (GLBA) fall trade show was this weekend. I flew out on Saturday, and presigned 225 copies or so of The American Story for the "Children's Book and Author" breakfast. The breakfast itself was Sunday a.m., and the other speakers were Nikki Grimes, Jon Muth, and Paul Zelinsky. I delivered my American Story speech, which I've been giving all fall. Nikki Grimes read many of her poems. And both Muth and Zelinsky drew/painted for us. Two Caldecott medalists making pictures before your very eyes is a huge compensation for having to give a speech at breakfast.
Then, speaking of Caledecott medalists, David Small and I signed Once Upon a Banana for a very very long line of booksellers. "How do you write a wordless book?" they asked. "Well," said I, "It's not wordless." David suggested I put the manuscript here on the blog so people can see what it actually looks like. I think I may well do so, but not just yet. Essentially the manuscript is text with art direction. I said, "David, you don't want authors to start sending in lots of instructions with their manuscripts." He sort of rolled his eyes at that -- imagine if picture book authors all began telling painters how to paint! Normally, authors have no input on art, but in this case, the story actually takes place in the illustration, not in the text, so I had to write a very skeletal outline of the action for the text to mean anything at all.
Please Put Litter in its Place (Man drops banana peel, misses the garbage can)
No Parking in this Space (Another man gets out of his car, slips on the banana peel)
And so on. Very rudimentary, a simple precis of the action. It takes a visual thinker such as David Small to figure out how to make it work. Which he did, brilliantly. He made the original culprit a monkey, and the entire visual sequence snowballs from here.... Best Blogger Tips
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