I just got off the phone with an editor and art director at HarperFestival, an imprint at HarperCollins Children's Books, and now I'm experiencing vertigo. The excitement from the phone call is not what caused my equilibrium imbalance, although this project is exciting enough to do so. What caused the problem was a combination of my nervousness with this conference call combined with my cell phone. I got one of those free-with-the-plan deally-bops. So, when "J", the editor, said the line was breaking up, that she couldn't hear me clearly, I wrongly interpreted that to mean, turn your phone up so she could hear. I turned the volume up to the highest setting, and now, after hour-long conversation, I'm deaf in my right ear. I've been walking 'round the house off balance, holding my ear, leaning off kilter to the right and cursing that cheap phone. Oh well, cheap price to pay for such a cool project.
"Go" will be the sister book to Tails, a flip novelty book written by Matthew Van Fleet. Tails is a book that celebrates that waggish appendage on the bottom end of almost every warm-blooded animal known man. What Tails does for...well, tails, "Go" will do the same for cars, trucks, buses, and boats.
First on my to-do list: visit the book stores and check out other flip-style novelty books. I need to study what's already been done to give me an idea about where I can take this project. Second, I'm going to visit a greeting card store. Greeting cards have all sorts of cool flip-open, pop-up features. "T", the art director also advised me to study books by Robert Sabuda and David Carter. I'll be working in close collaboration with the art director and a paper engineer. They've reassured me that I don't need a background in paper engineering, folding and such, however I plan to break out my exacto knives and construction paper. Over the next few months I plan to sketch, cut, fold, glue, dial, flip and glitter hopefully one of the best books a toddler boy— or girl for that matter — can read, and interact with.
More details to come.
Know what's especially cool about this book? When I visit schools, read my books and show my illustrations, I always end with a question answer session. One of the most popular question I get: do you only illustrate books for black kids? Really, kids are honest. I get that question. I always tell them, I like illustrating all races and all things. In fact, I tell them, one day I want to illustrate a book with cars!
Edit to original post: You should have seen the wife's face tonight as I stood in line at Barnes & Noble with $95.00 worth of novelty flip books.