We wanted to expose the children in the story to real hardships and dangers, the same ones faced by polar explorers in historical times. Some important themes were endurance, patience, the hope for survival and rescue.
This book is a true co-creation between my son Kerehi Grace, the illustrator Tokerau Brown, and me. Sometimes, as the book was being invented, Toki (Tokerau) would share a picture, and I’d get a shiver—a feeling that the picture contains life inside it, is itself alive.
Watching insects and looking for other tiny, interesting things genuinely is one of my favourite hobbies, and the content of The Observologist is all the stuff I talk about and point out when I’m walking with my nieces and nephews. Putting it all down in a book felt like a very logical thing to do.
Éric Veillé was born in 1976 in Laval and studied at the Duperré School in Paris. While working as an artistic director in publishing, he decided one spring day to devote himself to writing and children’s book illustration. He has since released many books, as author and illustrator, including Encyclopedia of Grannies and My Pictures… Read more »
I think pre-pubescent children should marvel at how amazing their bodies are. In the book, I wanted to focus on this great body-home that we live in, that we sense the world with and that is always changing in mysterious ways.
The idea came from driving on small roads in the country where there are often one or two birds pecking and walking around on the road in front of the car. When I get dangerously close to them, they fly away. It is as if they are playing a game with me.
What were the challenges of the translation process? I am really enthusiastic about the translation and even find the story funnier in English. Some of the punchlines work better because the sentences are shorter in English.
What led you to create Simon’s world? Once I had Simon, everything clicked, and I was no longer working with the abstract idea of writing a book or making beautiful images. Books became my second language and Simon an extension of myself. I had a new freedom to play with words and images. I allowed myself to write the way I wanted to.
Juliette MacIver is a picture-book writer and mother of four, who lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
What is the origin of the Grizzled Grist story? A good friend of mine asked his nine-year-old son, Jonny, what he would like to be a master of—the best in the world!
Clotilde Perrin is an illustrator and author living in Strasbourg, France. We asked her to tell us more about her new release, Gotcha!