Here’s something to crow about— Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by me hits the bookshelves today!
In this fun and funny picture book “Bugs bug bugs”, ” Flounders flounder”, and “Steers steer”!
I asked Linda Sue where her idea came from for the book, and this is what this talented author had to say…
“YAKS YAK was born out of my love of wordplay. I think that authors–at least this author!–are always… let’s say, ‘concerned’ about how their words will be illustrated, and I have to confess that for this book I was even more anxious than usual. There are so few words! How could an illustrator possibly glean the spirit I intended for the book with so little to go on?!
Dinah Stevenson, publisher at Clarion Books, could not have made a more perfect choice. Not only did Jennifer capture that spirit of the fun and fascination of words, she made the book hers as much as it is mine, strengthening the text with her brilliant choices and additions. I love the illustrations so much that it’s hard for me to pick a favorite…but do take a close look at those rams ramming…”
Thank you, Linda Sue! (Blushing) I feel for authors! So hard to entrust your ‘children’ and ideas to someone else. This was such fun, and Christine Kettner (art director at HMH) is brilliant.
Here’s a little peek at the process I went through to illustrate. These are the first ape sketches…
And here are the early thumbnails. I hate doing thumbnails and usually end up giving up halfway through. When we were first envisioning the layout of this book, we had the page turns hooking together with a little ‘clue’ in the bottom right hand corner of what would be on the next page. That proved too problematic, both in the logistics of the narrative, as well as potential production headaches.
Illustrating this book was a blast to do. Each spread is a different cast of characters. Each animal (noun) is shown with that same word used as a verb. In some instances, the animal really does do that action. For instance, apes aping and parrots parroting, but others’ not so much.
If a bat is holding a bat (an action they would not, and could not do) the illustration still needed to be as relatable as a dog dogging (which they do do).
I decided that I needed to give myself some ‘tools’ to use when i needed to (voice banners), and that I would try to tie the spreads together with a unifying use of fun and humor, hence the hats, and fancy Victorian accessories.
It was important that the reader knew clearly and immediately the name of the animal at which they were looking. Seeing a”parrot” and not just a “bird”, looking at a “fish” and not a “trout”.
Here’s another ‘work in progress shot’— I work on heavy watercolor paper (faithful readers of this blog have read of my paper predicament. I ended up using the 300 pound hot press, but using the back side, which isn’t as smooth).
First, I tape down the paper and because this is a full bleed, I then use masking fluid to paint over the foreground. In this photo I’ve masked out the fish and plants and I’ve painted the background. The next step will be to peel up the mask and paint the foreground. Next, I go in at the end with ink line. Each spread also needed a designed spot for the definition.
The reviews have been very good;
“Details such as hats and teacups carry through from picture to picture, and on each spread the animal’s behavior and interaction with other animals of its kind are spot-on…Children will recognize the behaviors from their fellow humans while learning new vocabulary in a memorable way.”
* “Gleeful linguistic fun that kids will wolf down.”
–Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
* “Animal and word lovers alike will enjoy this clever take on homographs…”
–School Library Journal, STARRED review
“Young readers will love this hilarious, informative book.”
I especially love hearing which spreads the reviewers have pulled out to talk about in detail, and which seem to be people’s favorite one. One of my personal favorites is the badgers. I think because it was one of the hardest to solve and communicate. In the end, I’m pleased with the stream of consciousness dialogue and the bit of collage.
This book also has a wonderful chart at the back which dives into the etymology of each of the words and provides teachers and kids with a great learning tool.
And, hopefully they’ll have a chuckle at the same time.
Happy Birthday, Yaks Yak! I’d like to giveaway a birthday present, or two!
I’ll send a book to two lucky commenters! Suzanne will announce the winners on her March 15th post.
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!
This one’s been on my Get This Book list since I saw the title. And now that I see the art, it’s moving to Get This Book Now.
That’s wonderful, thank you so much, Mylisa!
Looks delightful! I can’t wait to read it.
Thank you, Lindsay! Good luck in the book giveaway!
I can’t wait to read this myself and better yet to read it to my grandsons. This language sounds like a lot fun!
Hi, Kim, thanks for commenting and entering the give away. Hope your grandsons love the book!
Those illustrations are amazing, Jennifer! I can’t wait to see the whole book and the back matter. Thanks for sharing your process.
So nice of you to say, Traci, thank you. It sure was a lot of fun to draw slugging slugs!
Illustrators always amaze me! Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great book.
Thank you, Janet! Thanks for entering the giveaway!
Hats – of course! What a brilliant tie-together. The out slugged slug made me nearly spit coffee on my laptop. Cannot wait to add this book to my library!
Hah! Happy that my slugged slug made you laugh, but glad you didn’t harm your computer! Thanks so much, Cathy!
What a fun book. The illustrations look amazing. Can’t wait to read it.
Thanks, Barbara for your kind words. It sure was fun to do. Thanks for entering the book giveaway!
This looks fabulous, Jennifer! Congrats!
And thank you for sharing part of the process. Fascinating!
Hi Katy, thanks for your nice comment!
Very cute & thanks for the look at your process too!
Hi Tracey, you’re entered in the giveaway! Thanks for your support, I think I saw a tweet? Thanks so much!
What a great idea for a book! And I LOVE your art, Jennifer (especially those bats!) Looking forward to checking this one out!
Thanks, Maria for your flattering words! I know, very clever of Linda Sue!
What fun! Love the art!
Thank you, Rebecca! You might win a book!
Oh, how fun! I’m a sucker for word play and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful! Congrats and happy book birthday!
Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for your nice comment and Happy Birthday wishes!
Love this idea, and your artwork is SO full of humor and energy, Jennifer! Going straight onto my must have list.
Shucks, so nice…. Thanks, Jill!
Oh my gosh, what a brilliant idea! This book looks like SO MUCH FUN! I can’t wait to get a hold of a copy!
Hi Debra! I think it’s a lot of fun and really hope kids do, too! Thank you for your nice comment and good luck in the giveaway!
Such a fun idea! Kids and grownups both will laugh their way from animal to animal!
I hope so, Anola! Thank you so much for your kind words!
Jennifer, This is such a beautiful book! Can’t wait to get my copy.
Oh thank you, Dorothia!!!!!!!
This looks fantastic, Jennifer! And I always love it when you show your process (even if I don’t always understand how it all works . . .). Congratulations!!
Hi, Linda, thank you! I love to see ‘behind the scenes’ things, too. It’s good to know that others’ do, too! Thanks!
What a fantastic concept brought to life by your incredible illustrations! You are amazing, Jen! I’ve got some baby showers coming up and this would make the perfect gift!
Hi Karen, thank you so much for your lovely compliment! I have bookplates that I would be happy to sign and send anyone who would like them? Just email me through my website (www.jbreinhardt.com). Or, at least I should have some (ordered them)?
My kindergarten grandchild is fascinated by these illustrations and animal pairs….She especially likes(and ‘gets’) Fish fish…….This is a wonderful book to help learn nouns and verbs…..Thank you!
Hi, Judith! I love hearing this! “Fish fish” took so long to come to me. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to keep them in the water and when I took them out, well, that was wrong! Thanks!
This one looks so incredibly fun! Can’t wait to see it (and hope to win it LOL). Thanks for sharing, and happy book birthday!!
Thanks, Joanne! You’re in the running!!!!!
I would love, love, love to use a copy of this in a picture book workshop I’m leading in August. Kate Messner recommended it as a wonderful example of a picture book with very short text.
Text is indeed short, but oh so clever… Thank you Caroline! Perhaps you’ll win one for your workshop!
The title alone made me want to read this book. Now that I’ve seen the illustrations . . . wow!
Thank you, Stacy! You’re in the giveaway!
This looks like a GREAT book! What a funny and clever concept. Thanks for the post!
You’re welcome, Emily. Thank you for your comment!!!!!!!!!
What fun your readers will have reading this book! I love the concept, the humor, and your beautiful illustrations. Thanks for sharing your process.
Thank you, Lori, for your kind words. Good luck in the giveaway!
What a fun book. Love the illustrations!
Oh, pick me! Pick me! This book looks like so much fun. I love what Linda Sue Park did AND how Jennifer responded to the text. It makes me smile.
Hi Quinette! You are entered (and I really do pick random numbers and count)! Thanks for your nice comment!
What a fun book! Definitely going on the to-read list!
Terrific, thanks so much to a woman with a fabulous name!
What a wonderful collaboration! Congratulations!
Thank you so much, Lori Ann (hope I translated your name correctly?) It was a LOT of fun!
So cool! I can’t wait to read this book!
Love the concept!!
Thanks, Kris! Linda Sue is a clever gal!
This book is so much fun! I can’t wait to get a copy. I predict this will be a classroom favorite.
I hope kids love it, Claire! Thank you!
These illustrations are beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
Oh thank you, Katie! Sure was fun. Thanks, you’re entered!
This looks like a beautiful book. I can’t wait to read it!
Thanks, Shaelyn! Good luck in the giveaway!
This book is a delight as are all of Linda Sue’s books. I had the pleasure of working with her at a Highlights workshop a few years ago.
P.S. It’s amazing to see all the work that went into the illustrations. Lovely, Jennifer!
Thank you, Kathy! I’m really looking forward to meeting Linda Sue at the Wild Wild Midwest SCBWI conference at the end of April. She is talented, prolific, and generous! Thanks for commenting!
Jennifer, You and Linda Sue have completed a book that will endure through the ages because it’s funny, it’s informative, and the artwork is superb!! Congratulations – and the reviews are well-deserved!
I can’t thank you enough for your kind comment, Mary! 🙂
I can’t wait to see this fun book. Children will enjoy it while enjoying learning more about language.
I love the ape!! Imagine holding a tea cup, of all things, with your toes while holding up a hat or plate of fruit with both hands. lol
Thank you, Dorothy! I’m glad you like the whimsy! I hope kids will, too! You’re in the running for the giveaway!
This fun (and educational) book looks like the perfect pairing of author and illustrator. I can’t wait to read it!
How nice of you to say, Sydney! Good luck in the giveaway! Thanks!
This looks like a fun book and the illustrations look gorgeous!
Thanks so much, Lynn!
Nice to ‘see’ you, Nicole! Thanks!
Love the concept and love your artwork. fingers crossed!
Thank you, Abigail! Good luck!!!!!!!!
Great fun and teaching too!
Yes, indeed! Thanks Linda!!!!
This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to read it!
Thanks, Heather! Good luck in the giveaway!
This book lover loves this book! I look forward to finding it and reading it!
Thanks so much, Cindy!!!!!!!
So cute, and I love the humor with the homographs. Students will love this!
I hope so, Tina, thanks so much for your kind comment!
Playing with words is so much fun. This book looks like a real winner in so many ways! I am really looking forward to reading it and seeing the adorable illustrations.
Hi Sheryl, thanks for your nice comment! Good luck in the drawing!
Such a fun book! Thanks for sharing. =)
Thanks for visiting and commenting, Bridget!
Yak Yaks looks like a fun, fun book! Congrats!
Hi Suzanne! Can’t wait to meet you in Naperville! Thanks for the comment!
Gosh this looks like so much fun. The illustrations are terrific. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.
Thanks so much, Rosi! Good luck, you’re entered!!!!
What a clever idea!! Thanks for sharing the process!
Thank you, Linda, for visiting, commenting, and entering to win a book!
This is such a great concept and the kids in my classes would love this fun book! I loved reading and looking at author and illustrator’s processes too.
Thanks, Ramona! Good luck in the drawing!!!!!
Wow. Love this book and these beautiful illustrations!! So nice to peak behind the curtain!
Thank you very much, Meridth! You’re entered in the giveaway!
Yaks Yak! What fantastic illustrations!
Thank you for a look at your process.
Thank you, Kyle for your flattering comment! Good luck in the giveaway!
Jennifer, your artwork here is stunning…and fun. Congratulations on another beautiful book release.
Thank you so much, Heather! It was such a fun book to work on!!!!
The words are fun and clever and I was attracted to the art work. Now that I’ve read this, I want to study the art even more! Thanks for the insights.
What a nice thing to say! Thank you so much, Susan!
This book sounds like so much fun. I just added it to my library list.
Thank you, Kathy! And good luck in the giveaway!
This looks like such a fun book. Congratulations!
Thank you so much, Patricia! Lovely to see you, good luck in the drawing!
What a fun book. I just love word play. Can’t wait to read it! ! CONGRATS!!
Thank you for visiting and commenting, Mary! Good luck in the giveaway!
What a wonderful word play book. Perfect for all students, but especially my English Language Learner.
Hi Susan! That’s a perfect fit! Thank you so much!!!!
This book sounds like a lot of fun for adult and child. Beautiful illustrations!
I appreciate your kind words, Debbie! Thank you!!!!
Beautiful illustrations, Jennifer! So much energy & fun. Thanks for sharing the post.
Thank you so much, Wendy for your nice comment! Thank you for visiting!!!!
Great background information about how illustrators think and play with the author’s words and story.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Cassie. Thank you for your kind comment!
I am going to find this darling book for our grandson, it is beautiful! I loved seeing how you work through your illustration process too, Jennifer.
Hi there, Becky! Thank you so much!!!! You’ll be entered in the giveaway, good luck!
Can’t wait to YAK about this one on my blog. LOVED this post. Thanks!
That would be so appreciated, Lynne Marie! Thank you for your lovely comment and for your support!!!!
Thanks for this great post and the behind-the-scenes skinny!
Thanks for this great post and the behind-the-scenes skinny! 🙂
Thanks, Tammi! You are very welcome!
What a great concept! Can’t wait to read it “in person!”
Hi Sandy, hope you like it 🙂 Good luck in the giveaway!
You have to love anything done in watercolor. This looks like a lot of fun. Looking forward to reading it,
Thank you for your comment, Cindy! Good luck!
GREAT punster fun
Hi Maria! Good luck in the giveaway!
Brilliant idea for a book – and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful.
Thank you for such kind words, Joy!
Just read this yesterday, Jennifer and I LOVED it–so wonderful! And I especially love your art–it’s filled with such humor and feeling. Such a great read aloud!!
Thank you so much for this fantastic comment, Maria! So glad you loved the book!!!!!!!!
Looks like I missed the giveaway, but I will definitely be picking up a copy of this book – it looks hilarious! (that slug!)
Hi Lauren, sorry that you missed the giveaway, but if you do buy a book and want a signed bookplate (I’ll send to you for free), just email me through my website and let me know. It’s a fun design and features… “that slug”!