I was delighted to receive this photo of three year old Polly with her dad Phil recently. That it coincides with the reissue of Out of the Egg makes it all the more special.
Polly is being read my book Out of the Egg which she has known for some tiime. Recently it has returned as a favourite bedtime story, with the added sensual pleasure of cradling a raw egg from the fridge in her hand as she listens to the story and sucking her thumb at the same time. This picture is a reminder that every reader makes a book their own . I’m so moved by Polly’s response to it and wonder what she thinks as she sucks and listens and looks after that egg. To me the egg represents the birth of something new, a new way of being and of doing things.
Whatever is going through Polly’s mind, it looks to me like a lovely way to finish the day and I hope there will be many such enthusiastic new readers of this book in the te reo Maori/ English and Samoan/English bilingual versions which have just been released by OneTree House.
Photo credit Zoe Saker-Norrish
Here’s the link to One Tree House : https://www.onetree-house.com/product-page/out-of-the-egg Available in Australia soon at https://www.johnreedbooks.com.au/
It’s exciting that my five year old great nephew Tahua will soon be able to read the Maori version of Out of the Egg to me.
The State Library of NSW opened their exhibition ‘IMAGINE…the wonder of picture books’ in July 2022. It will be up until July 2023. It includes this big image from my book Waiting for Later, also a woodblock, stencil and picture, and a big version of the book with braille text. It’s a wonderful display with images and words from May Gibbs, Pamela Allen, Bob Graham, Ursula Dubosarsky and many others. To celebrate I have republished two of my books below – Waiting for Later and A Great Cake. You can purchase them through www.keepontelling.com . They are also available through links on the Contact page.
Waiting for Later’s paperback edition has a new image on the cover
A Great Cake is available for the first time in paperback
HOME, my frieze for decorating a baby change table corner, a child’s room or any living space is available for sale. You can buy it from me via my Contact page or through Amazon Australia
The text on HOME is inspired by a poem of Emily Dickinson’s. I have used her form to write about some farm animals. Her poem was about a bee and there’s one to be found on every spread of the frieze.
The same year I made the Black and White Baby Mobile below I also made four puppets for a children’s show on ABC TV called The Ferals. It was about four feral animals – a rat, a cat, a rabbit and a dog – who lived in the garden shed of Joe – a ruthless (and hopeless) entrepreneur – and his two flatmates Robbie and Leonard. The Ferals were always argumentative and often violent, they despised Joe’s authority and wouldn’t vacate their shed under any circumstances. They pulled together as a team only when they had a battle to wage. Here are some photos of Mixy under construction and Modigliani when she recently came back to my workshop for some overdue surgery. The puppets were made out of latex and expanding foam and covered with fur. I learned many of the necessary puppet making skills from Ross Hill at Sydney’s Marionette Theatre of Australia and at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in London, where I had gone to work on Labyrinth. Here’s an interview about The Ferals on ABC program Throwback. Later I made two more puppets – a cockroach and a cane toad- for the series Feral TV.
I first made this Black and White Baby Mobile 25 years ago and it has been selling steadily ever since. I learnt that new babies are attracted to high contrast patterns from the American Journal of Nursing. Baby guru Penelope Leach confirms it in her book Mother and Child and our own baby guru in Australia Robin Barker was kind enough to hang it over the change table at the Baby Health Centre in Bondi. And sure enough the babies loved it. She wrote her baby bible Baby Love soon after. I get the mobile printed in Australia and New Zealand and distribute it from my home. There have been a few different babies on the cover over the years and the current ones – Tjara Bellear and Jimmy Barker – are now about 10.
There’s a song of So Many Wonderfuls. It’s sung by the clever and helpful Eeore Chanticleers. In this picture a teacher is reading to kids on the hill before they go to class. See if you can find the page. I was happy to see that So Many Wonderfuls was sent to little prince Louis in England earlier this year with fourteen other books from New Zealand. It won’t tell him about life in a palace but might show him what Subsistence Affluence looks like.
This is a new picture I did using scratchboard. I was inspired by Barbara Cooney, Virginia Lee Burton and Beth Krommes who have all done wonderful pictures this way.
Here below is a perfect place to camp in the summer.
This reading of A Great Cake is beautiful. It’s everything good about picture books.
This and the new book Do What You’re Doing are up on the BOOKS page now.
Here below is a new picture for a book called Do What You’re Doing. It’s on the Books page with a sing along song of the same name.
Have a look below to see if you’ve ever been to this wonderful town.
Here are some pictures from my book So Many Wonderfuls. It’s a story about a wonderful town and will be published by Walker Books in August 2014. This is the town in the early morning before the sun comes up. A few people are awake and a few cars are on the road. The night train is on its way south but it hasn’t arrived in the picture yet.
These three pictures above are from my first book Out of the Egg, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and by Walker Books in 2007. Out of the Egg is about a red hen and a green seed. Apart from black and white, green and red are the only two colours I use in the book. There’s a video of me reading Out of the Egg on the Books page of this website.
Did you notice that the picture on the wood block above is the other way round from the one in the finished book?
Above are early pencil drawings for the ‘wet cake’ page and the ‘lumpy cake’ page. The pages don’t look anything like this in the finished book. But you might be able to find people in some of these same positions in the finished pictures.
Often I have to ask friends and family to pose for me, so I can draw them or take photos. Can you find these poses, above and below, in the pages of A Great Cake?