Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The A-I Relationship in Action: Chicks and Salsa


I could blog about Chicks and Salsa in any number of ways. I could talk about how much I love the tight repetitive structure. I could praise the lovely alliterative language. Or I could applaud Aaron Reynolds for achieving that desirous, but elusive, little twist.

But I am not going to do any of those things. I am going to focus on what the illustrator, Paulette Bogan, brought to the table here.

Let me back up for a second and set the scene.

Farmer Nuthatcher's chickens were tired of the same old chicken feed. So, the rooster hatched a plan.

The chickens crept into the garden where they took tomatoes and uprooted onions. That night the chickens ate chips and salsa-- though nobody was quite certain where the chickens got the salsa.

Soon the other animals are itching for some spicy southwestern cuisine.

The ducks dipped into the garden where they selected cilantro and gathered garlic. That night the ducks ate guacamole-- though nobody was quite certain where the ducks got the avocados.

Are you getting the idea here?

Okay, so I always chuckled a little when I came to the "Nobody was quite certain..." part. It's an amusing line.

But what I didn't even notice (my kids had to point it out!) is that there is a mouse in sunglasses covertly handing off all this stuff to the barnyard animals. Ha! It cracks us up.

I just had to email Aaron and ask, "Did you put in an illustrator note about that?"

Here's his response:

No, I never included any illustrator’s notes for the mouse stuff. I just thought it was funny that we never knew quite where these guys got the harder to find ingredients, but when Paulette read it, she decided to provide a visual answer to that question in the form of the mouse. Wonderful! And one more example of why the process works the way it does. If it was my job or right to tell Paulette what to draw, I never would have come up with that.

Wow! So there you get a look at the process in action!

16 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

So interesting. Illustrators and writers really do go hand in hand, don't they? I'm amazed.

Natalie said...

That is so fun! I love when pictures tell a deeper story.

Lisa and Laura said...

I love reading about how the process works between writers and illustrators. Fascinating!

MG Higgins said...

Wow, really interesting. Thanks for sharing this snippet of the writer-illustrator process. (And it sounds like a very funny book.)

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

So cute! Wish my little guy was little enough for picture books still. They grow up so fast!

Stephanie Faris said...

That's the part of the process that makes things better sometimes...that outside person putting something in that actually makes it better.

Rebecca said...

I think that is my son's favorite part about Chicks and Salsa! I love it too, and it just goes to show that you don't need illustration notes. Good illustrators know what they're doing!

:-)

Kasie West said...

So cool. I must get this book now. It sounds charming.

Diana Paz said...

I missed that completely!! My kids love when books have a "secret" picture on each page, now we'll have to go back and notice :)

Tamika: said...

I would have never imagined the illustrator role was so interconnected to the writer!

Good post!

T. Anne said...

What a great team! I suppose the writer is lucky to have been paired with such a great illustrator.

J.L. Finnell said...

Thanks for the inside dope, Corey. I think it's amusing both ways--not knowing how the animals got the ingredients, as the writer envisioned it, and seeing them get it from the mouse, as the illustrator imagined it. It's interesting to see right-brain vs. left-brain thinking in action...

Kim said...

ohhh, how fun! I don't know this book. I'll have to check it out. It looks adorable. I'm sure my little ballerina will love it. I'll see if she picks up on the mouse or not.

I find myself worried about illustrations when writing. I'm afraid the illustrator won't get my vision. I guess I need to let go of that, huh?

storyqueen said...

Super post. I love learning how other books came about, and it is so cool when things just kind of work out in an amazing way.

Shelley

Jennifer Major said...

I'll have to check out that book for my kids. Sounds like one they'd love.

Beth Coulton said...

I know Aaron - he's come and done a workshop for teachers at our church and I've peppered him via email and phone with my own questions about breaking into children's picture books, publishing and that whole world! He's a very funny man with a very clever sense of humor. He writes wonderful stuff, and the illustrations serve his stories well. I'm so happy to see his success in the children's book market! Beth