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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

JUST ONE BITE - what a book!


Today I get to share JUST ONE BITE - the life-sized story of what animals eat, written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Geoff Waring.
     The first thing that strikes you about this book (other than the fabulous cover) is how BIG it is! It has to be, it's life-size - really! From the tiny caterpillar hidden on the end papers to the whale eating the giant squid. Yup - fold out pages had to be included to cover that aquatic appetite!
     Full disclosure, Lola is a friend, but that didn't stop me from love, love, LOVING this book! The story is simple - the cycle of life, while the graphic illustrations grab me and shake the artist right out. They are FABULOUS.
     I'm so in love with this book, I had lots of questions for Lola...

Q. Wowsa Lola, I adore JUST ONE BITE! How did you come up with the idea?

A. As with all ideas, it simmered inside of me for many years until one day when my husband Ted and I were traveling to visit one of our sons, I asked, "How much do you think a worm eats? How much nectar does a butterfly sip?" The questions kept coming. After many months of refining the text, my agent sent it out and Chronicle immediately gobbled it up.
Note: Click here for Lola's article on how authors research narrative nonfiction.

Q. Who's idea was it to make JUST ONE BITE life size?

A. The idea for the life-size illustrations was a bit of collaboration between my editor - Melissa Manlove - and myself. Originally I envisioned face-on illustrations with the mouths and food being shown with their real dimensions. Then my editor suggested that the illustrations would be more impressive if we showed a bit more of the head, or whole animal in some cases. Of course, she was right. Then Geoff Waring, the illustrator, made those animals and their mouths and teeth just pop on the pages. I'm thrilled!

Q. The illustrations are so incredible and such a fantastic fit for this story, can you tell us more about Geoff Waring?

A. As with most picture book development, Geoff and I have never met. He lives in the UK and is an editor of an impressive magazine. I have no idea when he found the time to illustrate this book, but he did a marvelous job. I've shared the book with quite a few students in elementary schools and they adore the art, especially the Komodo Dragon and the Sperm Whale. Our editor asked me to send some scientific notes on species, size, color and any visual features that would be noticeable. Geoff took those notes and created picture book magic.

Q. Along with winning a Charlotte Zolotow Honor and a Children's Choice Book Award, you have *ahem* a few other titles under your belt. How many is it now? And how does JUST ONE BITE rank among them?

A. I've published more than 260 books for children. However, having said that, quite a few of those are school/library books. That market taught me a lot about discipline and meeting deadlines. I also publish books for teachers to support them as they work with student writers in the classroom. How does JUST ONE BITE rank in all of that? It's a gulp of good fortune!

Q. What's in the pipeline, what's coming next?


A. I had three books debut this fall. FRANKIE STEIN STARTS SCHOOL which is a companion to FRANKIE STEIN published by Marshall Cavendish. And, Mittens the kitten, a My First I Can Read book with HarperCollins, made another appearance with Happy Halloween, Mittens. This month I have a new teacher book coming out with Scholastic for teachers of Kindergarten and Grade 1. And in 2011 the next book with MITTENS will be available, as well as a picture book with Hyperion.

Fantastic - thanks Lola!
Learn more about Lola's incredible career at lolaschaefer.com. Follow her on Blog Tour at:
Tina Nichols Coury (November 22nd)
The Well-Read Child
Robyn Hood Black
Kids Lit, Menasha Library
Booking Mama
A Year of Reading
Zero-to-Eight
The Friendly Book Nook

More News! JUST ONE BITE was named a National Science Teacher's Association/Children's Book Council 2011 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12. Woosie!

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