Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Julia Patton

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Author website/social media:
Twitter @julia_patton
Instagram @juls_patton
When you were my age, did you like to read?
I adored Richard Scarry’s Busy Day A-Z Book because of the amount of detail it contained. No matter how many times I dipped into it, I always spotted something new. I have chewed this book almost within an inch of it’s life I loved it so much.

What was your favorite story?
Dr. Suess ‘ Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are’ I believe the narrative is as poignant now as it was all those many *ehem years ago. I feel it’s so important to see the world as a bigger picture, see others struggles before your own and having a moment to put your worries into perspective I adored the fantastical creatures and environments he conjured up allowing me to be transported to another world. I feel this has given me permission to be much more creative as and author and artist.

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How do you get your ideas, especially illustrating another author’s book?
When illustrating other authors book, I wait for the text to arrive and read and read and read it again until I almost know it verbatim and then instantly start sketching characters, scenes anything that arrives instantly. The words I read I see in pictures because I’m dyslexic-it’s a very useful tool to utilise. These early pencil sketches are lively, vibrant and full of energy that I try not to loose as I travel further down the editing, design path. These characters are taken to full colour and shared with the team and the author then I create the thumbnails, which are tiny pencil sketches of each individual page. Everyone comes together and agrees on a pathway forward then I create the full colour book (always with some small tweaks at the end but never too far from my first vision)

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The snails are very detailed. How did you do it all?
After I’ve found out the individual characteristics of each snail I draw them in pencil. Here is a before and after shot of the snails. I scan the pencil drawing into Photoshop and then colour the snails digitally in many layers so at a moments notice I can change the colour of their jumper or size of the eyeballs!

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What author do you really like right now?
Some career highlights have included working with the Gruffalos’ Julia Donaldson (Don’t Call Me Mum) and Sesame Street’s author Samantha Berger (Snail Mail) and I’ve had this special author on my bucket list forever, my writing mentor and all around mega-star, Vivian French. There are some more sensational ladies smashing the picture book scene right now that i’d LOVE to work with too, Lucy Rowland and Rachel Bright, they’re creating super smart, funny books with identifiable themes that are full-to-busting with real heart. I seriously admire all of these ladies talents.

Do you have any new or lesser known authors or illustrator you would suggest?
These are definitely not lesser known illustrators, but creatives who’s careers I’ve followed for a long time who are creating sensational picture books that I covet. Awards, accolades and world domination awaits them all. Roccio Bonilla, Kris Di Giacomo and Marianna Coppo.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author/illustrator?
Draw, write and create without constraints of any rules, freely, with all your heart and with the depths of your imagination. It doesn’t matter if you can’t spell, make sentences, let your creative spirit free. If you’re 4, 40 or 400 just simply write, draw, create and do it for you, not for a gold star or affirmation from anyone else. Carry a note book with you at all times and fill it with all your thoughts, ideas, scribbles and everything you see and feel. DON’T ever throw any ideas away, you’ll be amazed at ow often you re-visit and image or idea that was a seedling which when watered by time, confidence and experience that blossom into fully grown books. Remember that you are unique and let’s celebrate that. There’s a new initiative just about this very idea of creative freedom being launched by author Cressida Cowell called #FreeWritingFriday and I couldn’t be more delighted.

As an illustrator/author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
Yes, my readers are an utter delight sharing their photos and letters with me via social media sites. It makes me feel so happy to see how far reaching my work has traveled and who can identify with it all over the world. My books have been translated into many different languages and it’s a real treat to receive an note from anyone. I work alone in a my woodshed in rural Northumberland so anyone saying ‘hello’ makes my day.

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Posted in Book Review

Lilly’s Way

By Kim Delmar Cory

I’ve been reading this book since the fall not because it is s hard book but because I keep getting new books that just HAVE to be reviewed ( not that this book is any less important!) and every time I try to read it I have a new book and it just HAS to be reviewed (still this book is just as much important as the books I get to be reviewed immediately) enough about how I’ve been reading this book and more about the book itself.

So this book has a few story’s in one and here’s the first one: Gaston, the oldest brother goes and enters a contest that has to do with logs but I’m not going to say it’s name. He wins but hurts his head. Then a preview of the next part: family comes over to Lilly’s house.

I like this book because the dad left before Lilly is born and then Lilly writes an article on her dream of him coming home and I think that makes him come home but I’m still not telling if that happens or not! So all that stuff you’ll have to find the answers to yourself!

I recommend this book to anyone! I give this fifteen stars!

Posted in Book Review

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day Which in my house says “Today disaster is going to strike at least twice today and everyone will be grumpy ” except Mom who probably already knows about how it is going to be such a bad day but I’m just a little grumpy so it’s an improvement in my Mother’s Day attitude!

But I did have a sleepover this weekend and it’s been raining so much our basement is wet also because our sump pump has died and that is our 2 disasters so far (and yes, a sleepover is a disaster because I was so tired I was grumpy as a potato!)

We took my brother to see Tim Kubart. So Mom has done something for both of us this weekend. Now I am going to the gym with my mom and hopefully turn my attitude around.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted in Book Review

Space Boy and the Space Pirate

By Dian Curtis Regan

Illustrations by Robert Neubecker

This book is about a boy who pretends that he is a astronaut and his friend, Sasha, is stolen by a space pirate. Then he goes to his spaceship and blasts off to save his Sasha on planet Zorg .

What I like about this book is that the boy pretends that what he does is real but in real life his spaceship is actually cardboard and planet Zorg is Sasha’s House.

I recommend this book to kids who like to pretend things like they are a big hippo or a tiny elephant. I also recommend this book to kids who like space and big adventures.

I give this book 15 Space Stars ⭐️🚀🚀⭐️

Posted in Book Review

Food Truck Fest

By Alexandria Penfold

Pictures by Mike Dutton

This book is about a food truck fest and it tells how the food trucks get to the place that the fest is supposed to be. It also shows a family and their trip to the food truck fest.

I like this book because it is shows the different jobs on a food truck. It also shows inside two food trucks and that part was cool to see. The illustrations are very nice. But I have one thing that I’m wondering:Why is the food truck depot so tiny???

I recommend this book to… people who like food trucks. I also recommend this book to festivals.

I give this book 15 food truck stars🍕🍪🌭🍬

Bridget note: I am starting to type my own reviews instead of telling Mom them and having her type them. Please excuse errors in my reviews. This typing and thinking thing is hard.

Posted in Book Review

Q & Ray: Case 2 – Meteorite or Meteor-wrong?

By Trisha Speed Shaskan

Illustrated by Stephen Shaskan

In the second adventure of Q and Ray, they are on another field trip to the science museum. There they get a presentation about a meteorite. Well the presentation was about 1/4 of the time it was supposed to be. That was because the presenter found out that someone had replaced the real meteorite with a fake meteorite!

I like that this book gives you facts while telling a story that would not actually happen in real life because the characters such as Q and Ray talk but there are others characters in the story too.

I recommend this book to kids that are researching meteorites. I also recommend this book to parents should read to kids that want to meteorologists.

I give this book 14 Science Stars.⭐️💫

Posted in Book Review

The Forgotten Lands Series

Story by Jennifer Strain

Pictures by Chiara Civati

I was asked if I would like to review the second book in The Forgotten Lands series. I hadn’t read the first yet so they sent me both! Today you get a double book review.

The first book is Dragon Island and the second is Stormy Mountain. In the first book, we meet our lead characters (Nora, Sadie and Finn). This whole series get started when Sadie’s grandpa tells her a story about a hidden map in the orchard down the hill by them. She waits a few hours for her cousins to join her in finding the map. They had traveled far to the house. Then they find an apple like Grandpa had told in the story – an orange apple on a green tree. They dig and dig but find nothing. Finn bites the apple and there are two golden seeds and a map. The map takes them to Dragon Island . There they have to help a king and queen solve a problem about book eating dragons.

In the second book, they travel to Stormy Mountain to help the sprites who control the weather fix their machine. Grandpa said he made a fabulous juice there. It seems from his stories he has also traveled there.

The series is about friendship and working together. It is about believing in impossible things and yourself.

I like the adventures in these books. They fit with the types of adventures I have been reading. They are also much shorter books which was nice. These are the types of adventures I would like to go on. My brother would like to go to Stormy Mountain.

I think kids in second, third and fourth grade would enjoy these books. They would be good for teachers and librarians to have on their shelves.

Note: books were provided to me in exchange for review