2007 Junior Library Guild Premier Selection
Synopses & Reviews
Bow-Wow may look like your average terrier. The streets he walks may seem familiar. But just around the corner, things get a little unusual.
With nary a word, Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash have created a story about a bold new doggy who goes where no doggy has gone before. With a spring in his step and his tail only occasionally between his legs, Bow-Wow faces down every foe well, almost every foe in his path.
Step aside, mutts. There's a new dog in town.
"'This wordless sequence of comic panels, the first in a planned Bow-Wow Books series, is an eminently charming and surreal twist on what might otherwise be just another of the dog days of summer. Garbage Pail Kids creator Newgarden and Cash (What Makes the Seasons?) create a kind of silent feature, composing each orderly panel with a beefy black line and saturated digital colors. Bow-Wow himself, a golden-yellow terrier, has oval-dot eyes and an expressive brow that convey a broad range of emotions as he goes about his day. The action centers on his pursuit of a pesky black bug, which hops to the edge of his dog dish in the morning. With his nose to the ground and brow furrowed in concentration, Bow-Wow tracks the bug down the sidewalk where, in swift succession, gags pile up and absurdities bloom. Bow-Wow encounters a Doppelganger and the duo (as well as their respective insects) engages in an increasingly zany series of mirrored movements. Bow-Wow then meets an enormous lookalike who has been pursuing an equally oversize insect; when Bow-Wow flees this pair of behemoths, he rounds a corner to find a wild convoy of dogs sniffing after bugs. (Turning yet another corner, he is stunned to discover an array of giant insects chasing after minuscule dogs.) Newgarden and Cash use a varied layout of panels to great effect (three spreads are dedicated to close-ups of Bow-Wow's blinking disbelief as the enormous creepy-crawlies charge toward him), making this outing, which in less skilled hands might have read like a Sunday comic strip, feel enormously fresh and modern. Ages 3-7. (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A riveting and wordless doggy adventure.
A riveting--and wordless--doggy adventure.
About the Author
Bow-Wow may look like your average terrier. The streets he walks may seem familiar. But just around the corner, things get a little unusual.and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;With nary a word, Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash have created a story about a bold new doggy who goes where no doggy has gone before. With a spring in his step and his tail only occasionally between his legs, Bow-Wow faces down every foe--well,almost
every foe--in his path.Step aside, mutts. There's a new dog in town.A riveting--and wordless--doggy adventure.and#8220;Bow-Wow, with his bold lines and expressive black-olive eyes, recalls the retro simplicity of a Bazooka bubble gum comic. Itand#8217;s a markedly simple execution, yet the storyand#8217;s witty details stand up to repeat readings.and#8221;Family Fun
and#8220;Call it a kindler, gentler Twilight Zone in which the doughty protagonist is allowed to return home to bowl and bend at the end of the day. Thoroughly inspired.and#8221;Kirkus Reviews
(starred)* and#8220;The clever circular plot is funny, quirky, and even suspenseful, working well as a wordless picture book.and#8221;--School Library Journal
7/1/07 (starred)MARK NEWGARDEN is a cartoonist, author, screenwriter and the creator of many novelties for children, including the tremendously popular Garbage Pail Kids. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.and#160;MEGAN MONTAGUE CASH has illustrated, designed, and written for the Children's Museum of Manhattan,Nick Jr. Family
Magazine, Scholastic Books, Viking Juvenile,and#160;eeBoo toys, and other enterprises. She is also the author and illustrator ofI Saw The Sea and the Sea Saw Me
. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Interview with Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash, creators of Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug
Bow-Wow may look like your average terrier. The streets he walks may seem familiar. But just around the corner, things get a little...unusual. With nary a word, Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash have created a story about a bold new doggy who goes where no doggy has gone before. With a spring in his step and his tail only occasionally between his legs, Bow-Wow faces down every foe well, almost every foe in his path. Move over, Rover there's a new dog in town!
Q: How did you decide what situations and characters Bow-Wow would encounter while making his rounds of the neighborhood?
A (MN & MMC): When we decided to write a wordless book, we knew we wanted clearly defined visual gags that young readers would be able to understand at a glance, and that would, like a classic silent film comedy, build momentum as our hero progresses on his journey. We carefully mapped out Bow-Wow's round-the-block route in advance and took into account every twist and turn of his "bug beat." Once Bow-Wow got out on the street, though, none of that careful planning really mattered he wound up taking us in directions we never even anticipated, and the story just started to write itself.
Q: How did you create the look of the book?
A (MN & MMC): Since the drawings for this book needed to do the job that pictures and words usually accomplish in tandem, our goal was always to be as simple and direct as possible. Mark is a cartoonist and Megan is a children's illustrator and graphic designer, so we crossed our fingers and aimed at the crossroads where those worlds collide.
Q: How do you approach collaborative projects, such as Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug?
A (MN & MMC): We each have our defined roles, yet they constantly overlap and intertwine. Mark's primary focus is on the initial "writing," which is conceptualized visually like a storyboard for an animated film. Megan is responsible for the finished artwork, as well as the book's design. For this book Megan contributed key ideas and parsed every last story detail while Mark colored and fussed over all the finished artwork. It's a true back-and-forth working collaboration until we both cry "Uncle!"
Q: Mark, you were one of the creators of the immensely popular trading card series, the Garbage Pail Kids, and you're also a collector of comic art. Who are some of your influences? Are there any contemporary artists whose work you admire?
A (MN): I guess the whole tradition of twentieth-century comic art has influenced me. One favorite cartoonist is Ernie Bushmiller, creator of the comic strip Nancy. He was an absolute master of simplicity and clear design in staging his information, and his approach reverberates on projects like Bow-Wow. As far as the contemporary children's book field, I admire books by artists like Lane Smith and Richard McGuire. But most of the pictures I look at are usually a lot older than I am.
Q: In addition to picture books, Megan, your illustrations were used on the "Things I Know" Tot Tower, an educational toy for babies and toddlers that won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. How does creating art for an interactive toy differ from book illustration?
A (MMC): Pictures in a book perform a more complicated job. They may need to convey suspense, fear, surprise, time of day, or a combination of concepts all at once. Illustrations for a toy usually do not have to take on that range of nuance but come from the same place. Making toys and books for children is all I've wanted to do ever since I was a child myself.
Q: We hear that the building you live in used to be a funeral parlor and that you have a pet that bears some resemblance to the star of your book. Is there any truth to those rumors?
A (MN & MMC): True on both counts. We live in Brooklyn in a building from the 1930s that was once described as "the biggest mobster funeral home of its day." Our Australian terrier Ruby lives there, too. Luckily no ghostly goodfellas and very few bugs have been detected yet.
Q: Bow-Wow will be featured in his own series of board books, including Bow-Wow Naps by Number and Bow-Wow Orders Lunch, both available in August 2007. What other adventures do you have in mind for this tenacious terrier?
A (MN & MMC): There are more Bow-Wow board books on the drawing board right now! In the meantime Bow-Wow will also star in comic pages in Nick Magazine and The Bark as well as on his own website, www.Bow-WowBooks.com.
Copyright © 2007 Harcourt
Questions written by Roseleigh Navarre