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Original Essays | June 20, 2014 1 comment
It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »
Randall de Seve and Loren LongDescribe your latest project.
Randall de Seve: Toy Boat is about attachment and independence, from the perspective of both sides of the "parent/child" relationship. A little toy boat, tethered by a string to its boy, wonders what freedom would feel like. The two get separated, the boy is distraught, and the boat has some harrowing experiences alone on the lake. It manages to return, having learned that it really wants to be with the boy, who has also learned to let go a little.
Loren Long: Toy Boat is a story about a little boy who creates a boat out of a can, a cork, a pencil and some white cloth. The boy loves the boat and one day down by the lake the boat gets loose and floats out into the deep water. The reader goes on this adventure with the little boat as he faces adversity and misses the little boat.
I was drawn to this story written by Randall de Seve for its timeless, classical feel. It is a tale about how a difficult journey can show you just where you belong. As the illustrator of Toy Boat, I had great fun creating the boat characters and watching them come to life. My hope is that when children read the book they will feel the emotion in the little boat and feel that Toy Boat is their friend, too.
Randall de Seve: It's really difficult to narrow it to one, especially since my family has two children, five years apart. Everyone, including my 2-year old, loves the wonderfully illustrated Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. It's hilarious (from a parent's point of view Daddy's done it again, losing his toddler girl's favorite stuffed animal and misunderstanding the initial drama that ensues) and touching for a young child, who can feel the girl's frustration and sadness over losing the bunny and joy at getting it back.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, still speaks to my 7-year old and to the 7-year old in me. What a celebration of difference and originality! (I wish I had had that book when being teased as a child for my "boy's name.")
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is just about perfect. It's a chapter book that kept my older daughter up WAY past her bedtime until we finished reading it aloud (which is probably the best way to read it its language is gorgeous). In an old French castle, the stories of three outcast characters, a mouse, a rat and a peasant girl intertwine (along with that of a princess); and each, through (unlikely) kindness and bravery, earns an approximation of his/her heart's desire. The story's language and format evoke traditional literary tales for much older readers but DiCamillo knows her audience and speaks directly to it.
Loren Long: The Little Drummer Boy. I love the message.
If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
Introduce one other author/illustrator you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Do you read the Sunday funnies, and which are your favorites?
What was your favorite story as a child?
What do you do for relaxation?
And sometimes, making pictures for books can be very relaxing.
What is your idea of bliss?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Loren Long: I wanted to be a Major League baseball player. I wanted to play centerfield for the Cincinnati Reds. When it did not look as if that was going to happen, I turned to something else I loved...drawing pictures.
Why do you write books for kids?
Tell us about your pets.
Loren Long: I have a beloved dog named Stella. She is a Weimaraner and she is 13 years old. 13 Years is a long time for a dog of her type. She has been in our lives since before we had our two sons. Stella hangs out in my studio often while I work. I put her in many of my books. See if you can find her in the sky in one of the last scenes of Toy Boat. She is also in one of the opening images of the new version of The Little Engine That Could. You can see Stella by visiting my website at www.lorenlong.com.
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Randall de Seve lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Loren Long previously illustrated The Little Engine That Could. He lives in Westchester, Ohio.