It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favourite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.
Q & A with Mac Barnett
The book is called Leo, and it’s a ghost story, and I’m very excited for it.
James: You and Jon Klassen have worked together on two inspired picture books, can we hope for this to be a career long collaboration? Like the Tim Burton and Jonny Depp of the picture book form.
Mac: I’m pretty certain we’ll be making more books together. Jon’s one of my closest friends, and so working with him is rewarding in a very particular way.
James: As a teacher I find myself surrounded by bland children’s books. When the book fair arrives and sets up their pop up shop in the hall I am always disappointed that not one original book sits amongst the shelves. The book corners in the classrooms were filled with drab novels and naff picture books. I decided I would put a list together to improve the situation. It’s surprising how many educators of children are not aware of how brilliant the art form can be. I hope my blog is helping to back up your picture book proclamation in a small way.
Mac: It’s true. There are a lot of terrible children’s books. There are a lot of terrible books for adults, too. But for a lot of complicated reasons—scarcity of adult expertise in kids’ books, pervasive wrongheaded notions of what stories for children “should” or “must” do, market pressures on stores and publishers and writers—with kids’ books, it can feel like the whole art form is defined by its least interesting output—that everything is moralizing and singsong and Freytag’s triangle. That’s not so. In fact, I think it’s possible we’re entering a new golden age of picture books. Daring, fascinating, provocative, beautiful books are coming out in great number. I’m glad you’re helping people find them, James.
James: Your talks and books have inspired me greatly. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, I am very grateful.
Check out Mac’s website for more information on his work www.macbarnett.com
Or follow Mac on twitter.