It is Picture Book Month, and I am excited to be a part of Candlewick Press' Blog Tour for I'M MY OWN DOG by David Ezra Stein. I am thrilled to have David stop by and answer a few questions.
I really enjoyed the role reversal aspect of I'M MY OWN DOG. Was the bulldog in the story based on any real life dogs that you have known or who have owned you?
Thanks, Alyson! The dog is not a particular dog, but an archetype of Dogginess. I see so many dogs and their people here in NYC. I find our relationship with these creatures fascinating.
One time, I was sitting on a hill in the park and a man came with his dog. They sat next to each other, and gazed down at the passing traffic. The man reached over and put his arm around the dog, as if it were his longtime human partner. They sat there for many minutes. It was amazing. Just then, at the bottom of the hill, a car came to a stop at the light. Music was blaring. Riding shotgun in the car was a dog wearing sunglasses.
What is a writer to make of these events? A book, of course.
With your creative process, do you like to outline text and then sketch out the illustrations or do you doodle first and then add the text?
Usually I get an inspiration that comes from my daily life: my kids, my own feelings, the news, etc. Often I invent a character first, and then try to plug that character into various situations to see what happens. The character sometimes has a strong voice. It comes from a part of me with something to say. It usually has a strong emotion: indignation, fear, sadness, anxiety. Joey, the kangaroo in my book Pouch, is afraid of everything. The little red chicken in Interrupting Chicken is very anxious that the storybook characters will make a mistake and get hurt.
What is the best question that you have received from a child during a school visit or in a letter/email?
I love hearing from kids and seeing their artwork and writing. It is one of the greatest joys of my job. They often want to know if I’m married, how old I am, and if I have any kids. “How does the book get a hard cover?” I get that one a lot. Their own drawing and writing is on soft paper. Kids are a pleasure to be with because they’re very generous with their presence and their attention.
If you could work with another author or illustrator on a collaborative project, who would you want to work with and why?
Oh, there are many writers whose work I admire. Especially the funny ones. For example, Andrea Beatty, Doreen Cronin, and Cece Bell. And I love the poems of Naomi Shihab Nye. These are some thoughtful and funny folks. They are offbeat, and I think being off beat is a good way to find something profound.
Your bio on your website talks about your love of reading from a young age. Was there a book that stands out as your absolute favorite?
Always a hard question because I loved so many. At an early age I loved One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss. I used to go around saying, “A mouse has cut the wire, goodbye!” I read many fantasy novels as a 7 or 8 year old. The Hobbit, A Wind in the Door, The Prydain Chronicles. When I was 10, you couldn’t pry Calvin & Hobbes out of my fingers.
About the author/illustrator:
David Ezra Stein is the creator of many award-winning picture books, including Interrupting Chicken, which was awarded a Caldecott Honor, Because Amelia Smiled, and Dinosaur Kisses. He lives with his family in Kew Gardens, New York. Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter
Check out the other stops in the blog tour:
- 11/3/2014 Smart Books for Smart Kids
- 11/4/2014 Read Now, Sleep Later
- 11/5/2014 Cracking the Cover
- 11/6/2014 Elizabeth Dulemba's blog
- 11/7/2014 The Fourth Musketeer
- 11/8/2014 Picture Book Palooza
- 11/9/2014 Randomly Reading
- 11/10/2014 Children's Corner
- 11/11/2014 Flowering Minds
- 11/12/2014 Teach Mentor Texts
- 11/13/2014 KidLit Frenzy
- 11/14/2014 Literacy Toolbox
Enter for a chance to win a copy of I'm My Own Dog from Candlewick Press. Participants must be 13 years old or older and have a US mailing address. Please complete the rafflecopter form to enter.