This week at my blog I’m celebrating the release of my crit buddy Alison Reynolds’, and talented illustrator Heath McKenzies’ beautiful new picture book, The Littlest Bushranger.
I was so excited to hold The Littlest Bushranger in my hand. I have seen this book through its various stages of development. I’ve seen it grow from Alison’s seed of an idea to a complete, full colour work of art and literature.
So I can’t promise my review of this book will be completely objective, but anyone who reads The Littlest Bushranger will love the playfulness and the wild imagination of this story, enhanced by Heath’s amazing pictures.
When Jack’s sister Lil goes off to school, Jack is left alone with his dog Hector and his imagination. Lil has assigned Jack the task of looking after her favourite toy while she’s away, but when an outlaw comes to steal it, Jack must call on his bushranger skills to save the day.
What I love about this book is that it explores the world inside a child’s pure imagination – and shows us that in the universe inside our mind anything is possible.
Jack is a very likeable character who shows resilience and resourcefulness in dealing with his sister’s absence. He transforms his backyard into a magical world of adventure where he battles the fiendish villain with fearless resolve.
This book is a true collaboration between author and illustrator where the author has given the illustrator plenty of space to bring his own interpretation to the story. Heath’s illustrations are full of life and movement and carry the reader along in the urgency and adventure of this story.
The Littlest Bushranger can be read and discussed on so many levels from the entertaining story to looking at issues of the younger sibling left at home, and finding the resilience within ourselves.
The Littlest Bushranger has a uniquely Australian flavour.
PICTURE BOOK WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING TIPS FROM ALISON AND HEATH
Alison and Heath, the creators of this beautiful book have generously agreed to share some of their writing and illustrating tips.
Alison’s Writing Tips
- Pillage your childhood!
- Get writing. You can’t fix up a blank page.
- Cut, cut, cut.
- Do as many drafts as it needs. If the sight of your manuscript makes you feel sick, then you’re on the right track. Swig an eno and do another draft.
- Leave room for the illustrator to interpret the story too. You don’t need to say everything when you can show it in an illustration.
Heath’s Illustrating Tips
1. The more you draw, the better you’ll get – mistakes are one of the best things you can do!
2. Don’t try and draw a perfect drawing straight away – rough things in, make a little mess and refine that.
3. Imagining what you’re trying to draw as a group of basic shapes is a good way to start.
4. Draw what you love (BUT try something different now and then, it’ll do you wonders!)
5. Experiment! Both with styles of drawing and what you draw with!
Saddle up for The Littlest Bushranger blog tour.
Follow the stops on tour and you could win some fabulous prizes. The best thing about a blog tour is that you don’t have to visit on the stated day, you can drop in the next day or the next and still enjoy being part of the tour – and win the prizes.
June 11 Kat Apel
June 12 Chris Bell
June 13 Angela Sunde
June 14 Boomerang Books Blog
June 17 Ask the Sales Rep. Interview with Melinda Beaumont
June 18 Dee White
June 19 Kids Book Review
June 20 Ask the Editor. Interview with Melissa Keil.
June 21 Heath McKenzie and Alison Reynolds interviewed by Juliet Chan, Marketing & Publicity Executive.
WIN PRIZES ON THIS BLOG TOUR
- A piece of Heath McKenzie’s artwork from The Littlest Bushranger
- A picture book assessment by Alison Reynolds
- 2 free passes direct to an editor’s desk (you get to skip the slush pile)
- Copies of The Littlest Bushranger.
What sort of monster do you like? Send along a painting/drawing/model of a monster and you could win a piece of Heath McKenzie’s amazing artwork for The Littlest Bushranger.
Upload your own best monster to https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524 or email it as a low res jpeg file to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll upload it. If you don’t have a scanner, take a photo on a smart phone and email that!
Two categories. Under 12 and 12 plus including grown-ups. Entries close 25th June!
Follow the blog tour to find out details of the competitions and how you can win these great prizes.
WIN A CHANCE TO BEAT THE SLUSH PILE!
Have your manuscript on a Non Fiction Editor or Children’s Book Editor’s desk.
All you have to do is comment on any of the posts and leave NF (if you have a non-fiction manuscript) or CB if you have a children’s book manuscript. Leave NF and CB if you have both.
I hope you’re enjoying our picture book blog post series.
Happy writing and illustrating:)