Special thanks to my blogger-poet-friends who have already shared about this book:
Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup, where you can find the most adorable pictures of bookpages and blueberries ever!
Linda at Write Time, where you can find some of my specific word choices and get a feel for the playfulness of this collection.
Michelle at Today's Little Ditty, where there's a picture of my Granddaddy's amazing garden and also the two corn poems "Corn" and "About Corn" that appear in the book.
Linda at TeacherDance, where you can find ways to use this book to help kids create their own poems, and also ideas about how to connect this book with other ares of the curriculum, like science and art and health and more!
I feel so very fortunate to share this book with illustrator Mique Moriuchi, whose collage art is so whimsical and creative... and I'm grateful to WordSong/Boyds Mills Press -- particularly Rebecca Davis -- for seeing something in these poems, helping me further shape them, and for late thinking of Mique, and now for being our partner in delivering this book to the world!
To celebrate, I'm delighted to share with you an interview with Mique Moriuchi! Mique is a busy mom to two young boys, so I'm sure you can appreciate the gift these words are. :)
1. What makes you say YES to a manuscript?
I love a text which is open to interpretation and possibilities, which isn't too restrictive, where characters are allowed to develop and grow. I love it when I can picture it in my mind straight away and feel excited about it. I love humour and a good message too :)
2. FRESH DELICIOUS features animals instead of people. How did you decide which animals to feature?
I love illustrating animals! There's so much variety in size, colour and pattern, and somehow putting them in a human situation really tickles me. I like to imagine and question everything, which helps me make decisions about a picture. My partner is quite used to me asking questions like: If a mouse was wearing trousers or a skirt, where would its tail be? What musical instrument would a giraffe play? I do have my favourite go-to animals, but I guess the decisions I make are ultimately down to composition and colour.
3. Which spread presented the biggest challenge for you?
I do everything by hand. I cut, stick and paint very tiny things sometimes! The piles of fruits and vegetables in "Farmers' Market" were challenging, and I remember working and reworking the background for "Blueberries" for aaaaages!
I tend to make things up as I go so I make a lot of mistakes, and I am indecisive - but these things help build up the layers and textures so it's all good...I think!
It's hard to see what's what when I'm in the midst of a project, and it's often the case when I look at the artwork months later I see all the mistakes and think, arrrgh I should have done this or that. It's rare that I am 100% happy with a picture.
I like the simplicity of "Lettuce" and the busyness of "Closing time".
5. Do you visit a farmers' market? What fruit or vegetable is your favorite to buy? Which is your favorite it eat?
We moved home a year ago and in our new town where we live there is a fruit and vegetable market twice a week. It's not a farmers' market, but we get most of our fresh produce there. I love the bunches of carrots, kale and beetroot we find there - seeing them in their natural glory rather than all trimmed and packaged like you see in a supermarket. I love taking our boys there, for the colours, the lively atmosphere and the shouting sellers. It's good fun!
6. You are the mother of two small children. How do you make time for your creative life in the midst of intense childrearing?
By sacrificing sleep. It's the only way. And neglecting house work.
I'm not able to do very much at the moment, as I rely on our younger boy's naps to do anything, and that is as unpredictable as the British weather! But even if I am unable to create, I am always taking notes and thinking, keeping my mind ticking over.
I find inspiration daily in my children; their words, questions, thoughts and observations; seeing the world through their eyes. I am constantly jotting things down, and I hope to turn these observations into pictures once I find some time to myself again.
7. What's next?
I'll be illustrating the cover for the July issue of a great local cultural free newspaper.
There's a whole back log of personal illustrations I want to make too, based on our 2 boys and my experiences of motherhood, as well as some family portraits. Just the small matter of finding the time...