Friday, 11 April 2014

3D Review - The Dawn Chorus - Suzanne Barton - author interview

Suzanne Barton's delightful debut picture book 'The Dawn Chorus' is published by Bloomsbury April 2014 and is about a tiny bird who can't ever seem to wake up in time to join the Dawn Chorus. 

Suzanne's illustrations formed the basis of a spectacular window at Mostly Books where children decorated birds to produce a whole flock to join the Dawn Chorus. The result was stunning - Thank you Suzanne! And also thank you to Bloomsbury who set the whole thing up.

Suzanne worked on the book when she studied for an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art.
What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

Can I pick more than one? Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh and anything by Noel Streatfeild. But when I was very young Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It captures what it is to be a child.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

Anything is possible in a story, you can identify with the characters and go anywhere, do anything.

Do you see yourself as an illustrator that writes or a writer that illustrates?

An illustrator that writes.

How did you become a writer / illustrator?

I always wanted to make pictures, but when I was young I thought I wasn’t good enough because there were so many things that I couldn’t draw straight out of my head like motor bikes and horses. But then I gradually realised that you could look at things and practise and get better. So I studied, eventually ending up on a fantastic MA in Children’s Book Illustration in Cambridge, where I started working on my first story, The Dawn Chorus.

What comes first, the ideas for pictures or the text?

For The Dawn Chorus the story idea came first together with some clear pictures in my head that I wanted to make. I think they evolve together which is the great thing about having the opportunity to both write and illustrate.

Which do you like most, the writing or the illustrating?

I love illustrating. Writing is a more recent activity for me, but I am fascinated by what makes a really good story. I have a lot to learn and studying storytelling is a great excuse to collect even more books.

Suzanne finished a hectic day at Mostly Books with a book signing - something she will have to get used to!

And was kind enough to draw us a picture to offer as a prize.

The next part of our 3D Review will be an interview with Suzanne's editor at Bloomsbury who we asked what makes Suzanne's work so special.

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