Welcome back, boys and girls.
Today’s efficiently-first-named guests, Ame and Dan, are children’s book newbie and veteran, respectively. This is Ame’s DEBUT, everyone! And Dan’s seven hundred twenty-fifth book, or something close to that.
I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Dan, but I met Ame almost a year ago and she might be the happiest person I’ve ever encountered. But I still really liked her!
The book, Boy + Bot, is absolutely adorable. Just look at this trailer!
Without further ado, Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino.
Where did BOY + BOT come from?
Ame: Sorry? I was watching Voltron. What’s the question again?
(laughing) Yes, for me, there’s definitely an inspiration nod due to the great 80s mecha toons of my youth. Also to all the fabulous buddy stories I grew up with: Frog and Toad, George and Martha, etc. Like Boy, as a kid I collected many a pile of pine cones (without really knowing what I was going to do with them), and no
matter what neighborhood we lived in, there’d always be one house that looked like it could possibly belong to an inventor. There’s a bit of my favorite childhood movie, The Wizard of Oz, in Boy + Bot, too. (I haven’t found my metal pal in the woods yet. But I bet he’s still out there.)
And from first draft on, lots of wonderful people lent their inspired minds to the Boy + Bot project as well: my family, my NJ SCBWI critique buddies, Super Agent Scott, Michele and Sarah and Elizabeth and the whole gang at Knopf, and of course, the absolute genius (and heck of a nice guy), Dan Yaccarino.
DAN: IT CAME FROM BOTH OF US, BUT THE BRILLIANT AME STARTED IT AND I FINISHED IT AND IT BECAME MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS. MY EDITOR KNEW I HAD A GREAT LOVE OF ROBOTS (FROM JUST KNOWING ME, BUT ALSO SEEING A PRESENTATION I DID FOR THE NY SCBWI ON MY CAREER) AND THOUGHT OF ME WHEN RANDOM HOUSE ACQUIRED AME’S MANUSCRIPT. I INSTANTLY SAID YES!
What is it like to have your debut greeted with three starred reviews (and more likely to come)?
Ame: Thanks, Audrey! The reviews (to date, stars from Kirkus, Publishers’ Weekly, and Booklist, and a “…sure to fly off the picture-book shelves” from School Library Journal) have us turning cartwheels! Everyone’s so happy that that the first big people to see it love it. Now, we’re crossing our fingers that the little people and robots we made our book for love it, too!
DAN: THIS WILL BE MY 54TH BOOK AND IT CONTINUES TO THRILL ME WHEN I GET STARRED REVIEWS. I CAN’T IMAGINE HOW EXCITED AME MUST BE. NO, WAIT A MINUTE, I DO KNOW. SHE EMAILS ME A LOT.
What books did you love as a young reader? What children’s book character do you wish had lived next door to young you?
Ame: I loved every book I could get my little hands on! Hugo the Hippo and Barbapapa’s New House (which forever shaped my concept of ideal architecture) were two of my early favorites that I recently tracked down and added to my collection. (Yay, Alibris!) But my very favorite was (and still is) Where the Wild Things Are. To this day, I’m most definitely a Max. (I still make mischief, get in trouble, wander off inside my head… but always return for supper.) And yes, I’ve often wished the Wild Things lived nearby. (Just not upstairs—those big feet look loud!)
DAN: CURIOUS GEORGE. I WISH HE LIVED NEXT DOOR. WHO WOULDN’T WANT A MONKEY NEXT DOOR? I WISH HE LIVED NEXT DOOR TO ME NOW.
What are you working on now?
Ame: I’m eagerly awaiting the uber-talented Keith Campbell’s sketches for my next book, TEA PARTY RULES (Viking, 2013), and trying hard not to shout some fantastic news that, for now—alas!—must remain a secret.
DAN: I’M FINISHING UP THE ILLUSTRATIONS FOR A PICTURE BOOK I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT A ROBOT (A VERY DIFFERENT KIND, OR COURSE). I’M ALSO WRITING A CHAPTER BOOK FOR MACMILLAN ABOUT PIZZA.
Thank you both for stopping by.
You can learn more about Ame by visiting her website and–you may have guessed this, because you’re super smart–you can learn more about Dan by visiting his website. And be sure to get their book. It’s great and you won’t be disappointed.
Wait. What? You’d rather get one for free? Okay.
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Boy + Bot.
Winner will be announced on April 16.