Gay introduces young readers to her craft as an author and illustrator of children’s books, simultaneously inviting their participation in creating the story.
In a spread at the beginning, the author is addressed by a heaving crowd of young fans, asking her questions in their own authentic voices: “Do you have a pet rabbit? I do” and “Can you write a story about me?” The author then takes some of these inquisitive young characters through her process, using both the illustrations and the narrative to demonstrate how a picture book comes to life. The process isn’t always easy. She experiments with many doodles and words. A number of ideas are tried and discarded, until the right setting and the characters finally reveal themselves; in this case, it’s a shy giant who lives in the forest. A metastoryline emerges, with the author asking the children she is still addressing to help her further develop the giant’s tale. The ideas blend together sweetly, with the children eventually finding themselves inside the story. The whimsical mixed-media illustrations invite exploration, and they include what appear to be handwritten, even cursive passages. The exceptional use of negative space allows readers to truly experience a story appearing in front of their eyes.
A delightful and interactive step into the world of creating engaging picture books for children. (Picture book. 4-8)