I'm excited to be posting for this week's The Next Big Thing Blog Tour. This chain letter, of sorts, started over in Australia, and it's surfed its way to me - in Boston. I was tagged by one of my favorite illustrators, Cathy Morrison, who last week told us about her upcoming Dino Tracks! Boy those guys look mighty terrific, don't they?
I said surfed its way to me 'cause here comes Shark Baby, surfing in now!!
What is the working title of your new book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I'm the illustrator of Shark Baby, so we would have to ask the author, Ann Downer, where she got her idea for the story. But I can tell you I jumped at the chance to illustrate a baby shark book! I've illustrated a number of ocean books with sharks in them as well as adult sharks in Sharks: Big, Bigger, Biggest, Scholastic 2005. In Shark Baby, the anthropomorphic story of a baby shark learning his place in the world excited me! OH the places he and I would go together!
What genre does your book fall under?
Shark Baby is a children's picture book. I'd hate to give an age limit to it, I'd like to say it's for all who are young at heart.
Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?
Oh, my, it might be a stretch for him since he's not a shark, but I'd have to cast Nemo. I think Dory might pass as one of the seahorses.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A new to be born shark, curious of his existence, finds out who he really is.
Who is publishing your book?
Shark Baby was just released this spring and is published by Sylvan Dell Publishing.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
We would have to ask Ann Downer how long it took her to write her first draft, but I can tell you how long it took for me to do the illustrations. After reading the manuscript, the first thought I had was - I need to visit the kelp forest! My second thought was - wouldn't it be awesome to go swim with a manatee, like Shark Baby does! So I flew to Crystal River, Florida and swam with manatee; and then I crossed the country and experienced the kelp forest first hand at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, drove up to San Fransisco where I examined horn shark egg cases at the California Academy of Science and finally got really close to an adult swell shark at the Aquarium of the Bay. These were all exciting adventures! I came home to Boston and then sketched away! It took a couple months to do all of this.
What other books would you compare this story to within your own genre?
One of my most cherished childhood books, Are You My Mother?, comes to mind.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Our last question for Ann, but I can say my deep love of the ocean and all its inhabitants inspired my illustrations.
What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Mother Ocean carries Shark Baby through various ocean habitats where he encounters a variety of sea creatures. Young children will connect with his feelings and emotions as he searches to find himself. I think the illustrations are just awesome and kids will simply love them! And as a bonus, they can travel underwater and not get wet. :-)
So, there you have it, the story of Shark Baby.
As a little tease for next year, I've already gone back to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to do research for Sea Slime: It's Eeuwy, Gooey, and Under the Sea, written by Ellen Prager, Sylvan Dell Publishing 2014.
Now it's time for me to tag two more people! Next week I'm tagging Ann Downer! Ann has two books releasing this year and she'll be telling us about her fall release, Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World. I love the cover and I can't wait to learn more about the book.
In two weeks I'm tagging another one of my favorite illustrators, Christina Wald. Christina has a fantastic new Sylvan Dell book coming out this fall and I can't wait to learn more about it! The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story About the Six Simple Machines.
I love this cover, too! Aren't those pets adorable?!
Thanks for stopping by. Keep reading everyone!