Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Special Book Reveal from First Second

Recently, First Second Books (:01 Books) contacted me about doing a book announcement. Since I am also a big fan of First Second's graphic novels, I was intrigued. The book is titled ONE DAY A DOT and it is written by Ian Lendler (The Stratford Zoo), Shelli Paroline (Adventure Time), and Braden Lamb (Adventure Time). According to First Second the book is about the creation of the universe as told through a picture book.

Description of the book from First Second:
“How was I born?” “How was the earth created?” “What was here before the universe?” None of these are easy to explain to a child, but nothing is more amazing than the forging of the universe and the kaleidoscopic march of evolution. One Day, A Dot is here to change that. In 36 pages, it takes kids on the longest journey ever travelled by a picture book – from the origin of the universe all the way to you. 

The bad news: There is no cover reveal yet. 

The good news: Take a look at the sample artwork below. 

Artwork from One Day a Dot

Artwork from One Day a Dot

The bad news: The book won't be out until January 2017. We will all need a  bit of patience for this one.

The good news: The three creators of the book stopped by to answer a few questions. Key: KLF (Kid Lit Frenzy) - IL (Ian Lendler) - BL (Braden Lamb) - SP (Shelli Paroline)

KLF - How did 3 cartoonists come up with the idea of telling the story of the universe in 36 pages? Isn't that a bit ambitious? :-)

IL: Well, I’ve written picture books and non-fiction before so I wanted to combine the two, because I really love this new trend of non-fiction picture books coming out. As for the subject…well…if you’re going to do something, go BIG!

BL: Ian shared his script with us, and it was right up our alley. Shelli and I have been waiting for the chance to bring our love of science to our work. We really liked the idea of constructing a simple narrative to introduce young readers to these big, complex ideas.

KLF: Cartoonists seem to work more collaboratively than a typical author/illustrator pairings for a picture book. Have the three of you worked together on previous projects or was this your first collaboration as a trio?

IL: This is our first time. And after we drag our bloodied carcasses out of the steel cage they lock us in, I’ll let you know how it goes! Actually, I love this whole working-with-illustrators-like-we’re-all-mature-adults-who-can-collaborate-without-descending-into-fistfights thing. It’s very refreshing.

SP: Braden and I have worked together as an art team with a writer several times on comic projects --- taking a cue from animation studios. Each time has been a rewarding shared experience, and we’ve focused on the goal of strong visual storytelling. We encourage more people to try working together as a team, and it may just be an assumption that illustration is lonely work.

KLF: And was working on a picture book similar or different from a graphic novel/comic book?

IL: Graphic novels are just long picture books to me. I just have to be extra heavy with the editing shears.  

SP: It’s a little different from the art end. It was so nice to think we didn’t have to draw as much as typical comics page, but it quickly became awkward to have so much room for a single image. Before it got away from us we decided to borrow some tricks and comforts from comics. We’re including several focal points so that each image unfolds sequentially. Draw what you know, right?

KLF: If you look back at your journey to your present day as authors/cartoonists, who most influenced your work?

IL: Gary Trudeau. I discovered Doonesbury books in the library when I was in the 6th grade. And everything about him is amazing. His rhythm, his characters, his dialogue, everything. He’s up there with Mark Twain, in my book.

BL: My influences have fairly different styles, but they all have a strong storytelling and design sense. Bill Watterson, Walt Kelly, George Herriman, Bruce Timm, Mike Mignola, and John Bauer. Look up that last one. He’s great!

SP: I understood comics, having read my brothers’ X-Men collection early on, and picking up manga thereafter. But Sam Keith’s work showed me something bizarrely different, and it made an impact on me as art should.

KLF: Name your favorite comic book store and where is it and why do you love it?

IL: It’s closed and I don’t even remember the name, but it was on the Main Street of my hometown. I didn’t have access to comics before it opened and then all of a sudden, there were X-men and West Coast Avengers. That’s right. I said West Coast Avengers, to all you snobs out there. I loved them. I regret nothing.

BL: The Million Year Picnic in Harvard Square! It’s probably the densest collection of great comics from all eras in one small shop, so you get the sense that you’re really going to uncover something unique. They’re incredibly supportive of local creators, too.

KLF: What is the view from your writing/art studios (or wherever you work)? (please share photos)

IL: A blank wall. Nabokov wrote on the back of his toilet. Good enough for him, good enough for me!   

SP: We just moved into our first real house, so we have a desk to work at, but not much else in our studio. But here’s an illustration we did of us with our usual setup!

Shelli's & Braden's work illustration

Shelli's & Braden's work illustration

About the authors/illustrators:

Ian Lendler is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel series, “The Stratford Zoo Presents…” (First Second). His other picture books include Saturday! (forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press) and An Undone Fairy Tale (Simon & Schuster). He’s geeking out over the chance to work with the awesome Adventure Time talents of Shelli and Braden. Twitter: @ianlendler

Image taken from Google Images - No Infringement Intended.

Image taken from Google Images - No Infringement Intended.

Shelli Paroline escaped early on into the world of comics, cartoons, and science fiction. She has now returned to the Boston area, where she works as an unassuming illustrator and designer. Twitter: @shelligator

Braden Lamb grew up in Seattle, studied film in upstate New York, learned about vikings in Iceland and Norway, and established an art career in Boston. Now he draws and colors comics, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Twitter: @bradenlamb

Together, Braden and Shelli have illustrated a variety of comics for all ages including the New York Times best-selling and Eisner award-winning Adventure Time comics, The Midas Flesh, Ice Age and Muppet Show comics.

Thank you everyone for all of the great posts each week for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews