The nominees for the Governor General’s Literary Award in Children’s Literature, Illustration, introduce young readers to an eclectic cast of characters, including a hungry frog and a big fat momma, and send them to far-off locales including an island in Nunavut and, er, Newfoundland. Mark Medley spoke with the five artists about their work. ...
Rachel Berman, Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog (text by Tim Beiser)
Q What kind of experience did you have illustrating frogs before this book?
Q None at all?
A No. And, actually, I used myself as a model. I’m sort of skinny and funny looking, and I didn’t have a frog, so I was leaping all over my studio trying to emulate [a] frog. I could sort of see him as a person, so I decided to use me.
Q He reminded me of Mr. Toad from The Wind in the Willows, but I like your explanation better.
A Oh, well, I’m not going to deny that I was influenced by The Wind in the Willows. I looked at every version of The Wind in the Willows, and also I wanted to do — being serious now — they said it was just going to be a paperback, like most children’s books are. And I thought OK, even if it’s paperback, I’m going to give children credit for some sort of sensibility. I wanted it to be like the books I remember as a child. I wanted to have it as art. I mean that’s what I do: I make art. And I didn’t see any reason why children shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt and think that they could appreciate really good art. ...
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