Saturday, 18 December 2010

Starred review and "it's a wild" or Scarry ride?

Hooray!  Mini Racer got a starred review in that venerable US publication, the School Library Journal

“An array of animals takes off in a race, ensconced in vehicles of every description, from a rainbow-wheeled wheelchair to tricked-out motorcycles and cars made of bananas, logs, carrots, or cheese. 

Bouncy rhymes curve along the race course as the critters speed, swerve, and careen around the serpentine country roads, encountering obstacles, crashes, and even having time for a swim. 

The journey is as much fun as seeing the skateboarding snail take the winner’s cup for his slow, undistracted pace. Bright, colorful illustrations feature bold dark lines and saucy, big-eyed characters zooming across the spreads. 

With a line or two on every page, this book can be used with groups, although kids with the need for speed and a love of vehicles will pore over the pictures and find details to delight on their own.” 

School Library Journal, starred review

This week I've received an advance copy of the Bloomsbury US version - my original choice of 'road' coloured background, elegant dust jacket and all.  Here's the back of the Mini Racer:

For the Bloomsbury UK version which is in paperback only, the powerful bookstore chain Waterstones wanted the background yellow - so the designer had to change the tanker top right, to blue.  I reckon this background makes it look more Richard Scarry-like.  

And talking of Scarry,  it's scary how things come back to haunt you from the depths of your childhood.   I'm pretty sure Scarry used a  cheese or carrot car somewhere.  It didn't occur to me when I was drawing.  Too busy imagining different energy sources for cars - acorns, water, milk...and what kind of characters and vehicles matched.
That said, when I realized Scarry was lurking somewhere in my illustrations for this particular book, I toyed with dedicating the book to him.  I've always loved his details.  But then I thought that might be risky -  he's not around to approve or not so I dedicated the book to a US friend, Brian G. Karas, whose work I love and who encouraged me when I was working on this way back, during a difficult time when my mother was ill.
Anyway spot the difference in the blurbs too.  US "It's a wild ride!" /  UK "Who will win the race?"