Post your favorite animal fact in the comments section to win a copy of Animals Upside Down or The Animal Book – a Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth!!
Today I’m interviewing Caldecott Honor Illustrator, Steve Jenkins, about two new books! All of Steve’s thirty books are filled with interesting animals, facts, and eyepopping illustrations. I love reading them and my kids love looking at them. My personal favorite is Actual Size, and my two-year old can’t get enough of Hello Baby, which is indescribably and joyfully sticky after so many readings. I was so excited to introduce my kids to Animals Upside Down and The Animal Book. Come take a peek…
Don’t shy away from buying either of these books for a younger reader (*Edited: So, ahem, my two-year old has been feeling a little “rippy” lately and the pop-up book is recovering on a high shelf. *). My two-year old and my seven-year old enjoy them each in different ways, but they both love looking, listening, and learning about all of Steve’s amazing animals. I’m continually surprised and grateful that artists like Steve are willing to answer my questions.
Well, here we go…
1. Hi Steve! Your book, Animals Upside Down, is a pull, pop, and lift book, your first one I think? Do you get to come up with all those cool paper engineering ideas or is that done by the publisher?
I made that book with Robin Page, my frequent co-author (and wife). She and I came up with all of the interactive elements of the book. When we proposed doing a pop-up book, we naively thought that we’d simply suggest engineering ideas and clever people somewhere would work out the details. As it turned out, we made functioning versions of all the pop-up elements by hand (many times). We’d send them to the printer, who would send back their interpretation of our dummied levers, flaps, and windows. It took a few rounds of this process before they understood what we wanted (the printer was in China, and I think there were some language issues). Robin did most of the actual engineering. Ultimately, it came out pretty close to what we had envisioned.
2. Where do you get all of those beautiful papers?
I’ve been collecting them for years. When we travel to other cities, I always visit art and paper stores, occasionally finding treasures. There is one store in New York City — it’s called New York Central — that has a fantastic paper department. It is the largest single source of my papers. Some of them are utilitarian: paper bags, wrapping paper, etc. I also make a few paste papers. These are Arches watercolor paper with an acrylic paint and wallpaper paste mixture that is rolled on, daubed on, splattered, and so on.
3. Do you have a favorite upside down animal?
I find the pangolin especially fascinating.
4. What do grownups ALWAYS ask you?
Where do I get my papers?
5. What do kids ALWAYS ask you?
How old were you when you wrote your first book? (40)
6. What is the most interesting thing you learned about an animal while doing your research?
Boy, it would be tough to narrow that down to one creature feature. I recently finished a book about animal eyes, and learned that the eyes of the mantis shrimp have 12 different color receptors (compared to our three). They can see all kind of things invisible to us.
See what I mean, you guys? That’s the kind of stuff that is in a Steve Jenkins book!
***BOOK GIVEAWAY DETAILS***
1. Post your favorite animal fact in the comments section to win a copy of Animals Upside Down or The Animal Book!
2. Spread the word about the giveaway on any social media platform! Every time you blog, tweet, or Facebook about the giveaway you get another entry. Just send an email with a link to your Facebook page, twitter feed, or blog to: robin (at) blueeggbooks (dot) com.
3. I’ll announce the winners on Monday, March 3rd!
***BOOK GIVEAWAY DETAILS***