Tomorrow, February 10th, is the official launch date of “Foo the Flying Frog of Washtub Pond.” With my previous picture books, I was happy on the pub date but not excited the way I am about "Foo." I like all my books and the characters I’ve created, but I am especially fond of Foo Frog, Sue-Lin Salamandar and Mao-Mao Mudpuppy. These three amphibians gave me a laugh out loud story, perfect for reading to kids.
When Violet’s little Shelly came to my house two years ago, I gave her a copy of “Always Come Home to Me.” I watched this child’s delicate fingers gently turn the pages. When it was time to go to beach, she refused to leave without the book, because she was in the middle of the story. That’s the magic moment a children’s book creator truly cherish.
"Foo the Flying Frog of Washtub Pond is a story about friendship." Three friend begin life the same size, but Foo Frog soon out the others and declares himself to be the biggest creature in the whole wide world. That’s when the trouble begins for Sue-Lin, Mao-Mao AND Foo. I bet you know a Foo or have been a Foo yourself.
When I and Mary Lee Donovan, my editor at Candlewick Press, had worked out most of the issues with the story, I began submitting sketches to her of what I thought the characters might look like. I think I hear their voices before I visualized them. I knew what words would likely pop out of each one's mouth before I knew their features.
Intially, I had put them in Chinese clothes and made them rather fat in a mammalian/cute way. As I worked with Mary Lee and the staff's comments, the creatures were made sleeker and wore no clothes--yes, naked as the day they were hatched in the pond.
And so here above, we meet the creatures at play on the bank of Washtub Pond. They are at a point in their lives when they all the very same size.
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