Some of you may know I used to have a blog. And then my website got hacked and time passed and I created this new website and here I am blogging again. My previous posts (over the span of 4 years) are lost somewhere in cyberspace. Nevermind that for now. For now I need to tell someone about Any Questions? by MARIE-LOUISE GAY.
Who isn’t interested in the creative process, right? People ask artists all the time – it’s the first question from an audience after an interview or talk ~where do you get your inspiration from? We want to know what ideas are made of, where they come from, and how do we pin them down.
Whenever Marie-Louise Gay speaks to children about her books, she finds that they have many amazing questions about writing, drawing, ideas and other surprising subjects. Her delightful answers can be found in this fictional encounter with some very curious children, who collaborate with her on writing and illustrating a wonderful and evocotive story-within-a-story.
Not your typical storyline, right? The book is 41 pages long (a typical children’s story has 12-24) and it’s jam-packed with all kinds of delightful things grown-ups and kids will laugh out loud and oogle over. Illustrators will oogle at Marie-Louise’s painterly skills with jealousy, and kids will marvel at all the details to point and squeal at. Snails, singing dinasaurs, talking trees, cats who can’t fly, etc. etc. There is a lovely illustration of Marie-Louise herself, bespectacled and sitting in her studio with her goldfish, drawing away.
It’s very dynamic. There are children, and giants and monsters, and birds and snails running all over the pages in a lovely array of mediums – watercolour, collage, inks, coloured pencils, pastels maybe. And her sense of humour in her choice of words is complimentary. You get the feeling that she has let her ideas run amok, and had an awesome time doing it. It is reflexive – she has written a story about the creative process while making her own creative process visible to the reader which is what makes it so compelling.
THERE IS SO MUCH VALUE in these pages – her artwork, her ideas, what it does for kids (imagination, creativity, exploration and plain old fun), that it’s astounding it’s all for $19.95. This is the most brilliant children’s book I’ve seen in a long time.
Ok. I’m taking it out on the deck and reading it and oogling it all over again. Wait – I just got a text from Dwayne, author of Over by the Harbour, that our book has sold out. They’ve just ordered a reprinting of 2000! Yipee!