My little cousin wears glasses. It was a big deal when they found out. I wiggled mine at her and tried to make them look like fun (and cool - ha!).
     She ended up with a lovely pink pair that looks fabulous on her. But oh, how I wish I could have given her a copy of ARLO NEEDS GLASSES by Barney Saltzberg when she was going through all that!
     Barney is the author/illustrator of over 30 picture books and this is his latest. I had the pleasure to ask him about it... (Contest info at the end.)

Q. Hi Barney - I love Arlo Needs Glasses - you've done it again! As an author and illustrator, can you tell my readers how you got into children's books?
A. I studied Art in college and after I graduated I went to take a class in Lithography. I was told about a wonderful picture book writing class taught by children's book author/illustrator, Barbara Bottner. I wrote a story in the class which Barbara brought to Harper and they purchased the book!

Q. Arlo is a pop-up book. Did that present special challenges for you?
A. I love to try and add something a little different if possible when I make a pop up/interactive book. It's one thing to have an idea for an interactive element, but I am not a paper engineer, so I have to see if the book designers can translate my ideas and my editors ideas into a working book.

Q. What is your illustration medium and how do you approach illustrating a story?
A. This book is what I called sloshed on acrylic paint. For some reason I started painting the characters after drawing them in pencil. Then I would cut each character out and paint in the background separately. Each character was then pasted down onto the background. I wanted to create a little more depth in the drawings and hoped this process would help. I also try to add something to the drawings that might not appear in the text. I think about illustrating a book in a similar way as to how one would take a picture. What is the exact moment you choose to snap a photo? What will best capture the moment and help the story along? It takes longer to illustrate a book than one would expect.

Q. Do the illustrations come first or the words?
A. For me, every book is different. Sometimes I write an entire story before drawing. Sometimes, I will draw and story and add the words afterwards. Other times, I start writing and drawing at the same time. It's always amazing how a particular drawing might give me an idea that I wouldn't have thought of, had I not 'seen' the character in my sketch book. Seeing a facial expression or noticing body language might get me to take the story in an entirely different direction.

Q. How does a story come to you? Is it fully formed - written quickly, or do you struggle with them?
A. Again, every book is different. I wrote a book, years ago, called Crazy Hair Day. I had the initial book idea and ending all at once. I spent years trying to figure out how to write the middle! For Arlo Needs Glasses, I knew that after attempting to play catch with my giant Golden Doodle, Arlo, that I wanted to write a book called, Arlo Can't Catch. I had originally made the book with thoughts about writing a traditional picture book. No publisher wanted the story. I had already made two interactive books, (Good Egg) and (Beautiful Oops) with Workman. My wonderful editor saw the book dummy and told me she wanted to publish the book as an interactive book. I was reluctant and she finally talked me in to this book. I'm glad I listened to her. What the published book looks like shares very little with what I had originally written. I would say the book went through at least five versions with many of my first ideas not making it into the finished book and some new ideas along the way that weren't there when I imagined writing a picture book.

Q. You've created over thirty books, including the awesome BEAUTIFUL OOPS! and GOOD EGG - that's quite prolific! Do you work with various editors, or just one house - how does that work out?
A. I try to have different publishers for different types of books. My last two interactive books with Workman are both sloshed on acrylic paint. That's a 'look' for Workman. I'm writing different types of picture books with other publishers. All of the editors are very understanding.

Q. Arlo makes a wonderful star of your book trailer. What kind of pooch is he?
A. Arlo is a 75 lb. GoldenDoodle. (Half golden retriever and half standard poodle. He's a wonderful dog!

Thanks so much for sharing, and congratulations!
Thank you for your wonderful questions. It was my pleasure to answer them.

Barney is also a singer songwriter which makes this book trailer absolutely adorable!!!

What has four eyes and four legs? Your dog in glasses! Share funny photo of your dog wearing glasses for a chance to win a signed copy of Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg. Be silly, but promise to not put your pup through too much embarrassment.
      Enter between June 25 — July 31 by posting your photo on your Pinterest board with the hashtag #ArloNeedsGlasses. Then follow Workman's board: Workman will post the photos to the official "My Dog Needs Glasses!" board
      Five photos with the most likes and re-pins by July 31st will win an autographed copy of Arlo Needs Glasses. (Entrants must be U.S. residents.)

     The book comes with four pairs of glasses you or your dog can try on. Here's my entry - my dog Bernie wearing the Mad Scientist pair. Good boy!

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