Peg366's Blog

Another Interview Excerpt to Read.

Posted on: August 20, 2009

This is from the email newsletter put out by Publisher’s Weekly. I love browsing through it to see what is new in terms of books. Click on the link to  read the rest of the article.


Q & A with Loren Long

This article originally appeared in PW’s Children’s Bookshelf. Sign up now!

By Sally Lodge — Publishers Weekly, 8/20/2009 11:30:00 AM

Loren Long began his children’s publishing career as the illustrator of books by authors with familiar names, among them Madonna’s Mr. Peabody’s Apples and Angela Johnson’s I Dream of Trains, Walt Whitman’s When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Couldand Randall de Sève’s Toy Boat. Winner of two Golden Kite Awards, Long quickly became a familiar name in the industry in his own right. His debut solo picture book, Drummer Boy, came out last year from Philomel, which will publish his newest picture book, Otis, next month. Bookshelf spoke with Long about his latest book, which tells the story of the friendship between a caring old tractor and a needy young calf, and about factors that have influenced his work.

Loren Long. Photo: Paul Schliesser.

Otis has a classic, playful feel. What inspired the look of this art?

Well, to back up a bit, The Little Engine That Could marked a new direction for me, from the standpoint that this was the first book where I was obviously digging into a tried and true classic. I’m very proud of the books I did beforehand, but The Little Engine That Could opened up a new world for me.

In what way?

The approach I took in Mr. Peabody’s Apples and I Dream of Trains was more one of conventional realism. I am a huge fan of the American regionalist painters, the WPA muralists and N.C. Wyeth, and before The Little Engine That Could I never viewed myself as someone who would paint appealing trains with eyeballs and cute little purple elephants and toys. For the first time, I began realizing who my ultimate audience is: little children who would actually be holding one of my books. This was an epiphany for me. I suddenly realized that this is my career, that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And I started thinking about the classics that I liked as a child. The Little Engine That Could was a favorite, as was The Poky Little Puppy, The Story of Ferdinand and Virginia Lee Burton’s books. I began thinking about creating books that, like these, might someday become a child’s favorite, become classics.

So that led to the retro feel of Otis?

Yes, I know it’s a warm and fuzzy, maybe corny thought, but that is what I was thinking when I did Otis. I know you can’t set out to create a classic—only time will tell that. And who am I to think I can create a classic? It’s too assuming, too arrogant to think that. What I did was set out to do a book that has what I think of as classic elements—by those I mean warm, appealing characters and a fun reading experience not only for a child but for adults reading it to them. I want it to be an experience that not only entertains, but gives readers comfort, security and happiness.

And why did you choose to center the story on a tractor and a calf?


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I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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July 2009

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I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

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Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.


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