Steve Light's THE BUNNY BURROW BUYERS BOOK - Guest Post!

by Steve Light

     This book started with a brush stroke. I had been studying Zen paintings and doing some large drawings that had a large brush stroke as the main design element. So when Sharyn Rosart, my editor at Powerhouse Books, asked me for book ideas I just showed her a page of brushstrokes with red dots! Being the super editor that she is, she said, “Great! How can we make it a book?” I did not know what the red dots would be but knew I wanted a single brushstroke to run through the whole book.
      At first, the red dots were going to be a ball bouncing through the country side. Then I remembered an idea I started in another sketchbook about critter real estate and the animals in the forest selling their nests, burrows and caves. Then it hit me, the red dots could be the holes to burrows and it could be about one bunny family looking for a new burrow.
      All the artwork was produced on one long accordion folded piece of paper about 6 feet long! It was exciting and fun making that great long brushstroke. The brush I used was made of rooster feathers and gives a very scraggily line. Once the brushstroke was painted and the burrow holes were placed I started drawing all the trees and bunnies. The red dots became die-cuts so children could place their little fingers through the holes like little bunnies.
      Instead of an accordion fold book, which became too difficult to read, the pages have gatefolds allowing the reader to see inside each burrow.
      I kept the color scheme simple in black and red so the burrow holes would still be the red dots on the brushstroke. The end pages are the classifieds from a newspaper, listing different burrows and critter homes for sale. Some of the listings are for famous bunny homes but I’ll leave that to the reader to guess who they are.
      The fact that on every page turn the bunny family would get bigger, making them look for a larger and larger burrow, delighted me. I also had fun making the burrows occupied by ogres and dragons and fairies. This just added a more magical and a little bit scary element to the book.
      Moving can be a scary time for kids but hopefully they will come to realize that as long as their family is together, then they are home.
     The brush stroke becomes the ground that the trees and burrows are growing out of, like a safety line connecting the old burrow home to the new one. All the places you live become apart of you, just like your family. So that is how I came to make a bunny brushstroke book, The Bunny Burrow Buyers Book, A Tale of Rabbit Real Estate and my longest book title ever!

Steve Light is the author of many best-selling children's books, including the Vehicles Go! series (Trucks Go!, Trains Go!, Diggers Go!, Planes Go! and Boats Go!, all from Chronicle) and Have You Seen My Dragon? (Candlewick, 2014) Steve is a preschool teacher and professional storyteller who lives with his wife in New York City. Learn more at

Click the image to watch Steve in his studio at All the Wonders.

No comments: