Anna Walker introduces Peggy – The Little Bookroom

Anna Walker 


The Little Bookroom would like to introduce you all to our new favourite chicken: Peggy and of course her creator; Anna Walker.  First, I must say I am absolutely besotted by Peggy.  This chicken rekindles all my secret childhood dreams of growing up to become Barbara from The Good Life, but that's a story for another time.  The Little Bookroom is delighted to be hosting the launch of  "Peggy" on Saturday September 1st at 4pm.

Anna Walker's simple and impecable illustrations have a quiet joy that translates perfectly into this consummate model of chickenhood.  Peggy likes to play outside every day, until one day a gust of wind sweeps her up on an adventure all the way to the city.  The city just happens to be our very own Melbourne.  Peggy sees all sorts of things she's never seen before and it's very exciting.  Eventually, Peggy decides its time to go home, but that's easier said than done, when you are a small chicken in a big city.

You might know Anna's other books.  She has written and illustrated a whole series about a little zebra called Ollie, who finds joy everywhere he looks.  She has also created 'Froggy Green', 'Funny Face' and 'I Don't Believe in Dragons'.


I Don't Believe in Dragons  


As well as writing her own books, Anna has collaborated with a number of prominant Australian authors including Jane Godwin and Emma Quay.  As well as the Friends For Keeps series with Emma Quay, Anna has also illustrated; 'The Miggy Tree' by Karl Yeomans; 'Santa's Aussie Holiday' by Maria Farrer, 'Little Cat and the Big Red Bus' written by Jane Godwin;  'All Through the Year' written by Jane Godwin; a follow up to 'All Through the Year' which is called 'Today We Have No Plans' by Jane Godwin is due out later this year.

All Through The Year  

We asked Anna a few questions and we were extremely pleased that she took time out of her very busy day to answer them:


LBR: I know you have said that you loved Beatrix Potter as a child especially Jemima Puddle Duck but, were there any Australian picture books that captured your imagination?
AW:'Oh yes, I loved 'Aranea' by Jenny Wagner illustrated by Ron Brooks.  Another favourite was of courseSnugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs and Blinky Bill too!

LBR: Do you remember a favourite teacher or librarian that helped or encouraged you creatively?
AW: My favourite librarian was my mum! When I was very young mum worked at a local library and we often spent time together choosing books to read. Both my parents and wider family encouraged my  love of reading and drawing.
In Grade 3, I had a teacher 'Mrs Smale' who read the class 'Where the Wild Things Are', and we made 'Wild Things' from big cardboard boxes. I remember being sooooo excited. I could hardly believe I was so lucky!

LBR: We love your Ollie series and it seems to really strike a cord with toddlers, what do you think it is they love about Ollie?
AW: The idea for the Ollie books began when my daughter Olive was two, and sitting halfway down the stairs singing to herself. I wrote down 'My name is Ollie. I love to sing.' 
The stories sprang from her delight in familiar, simple things. There are lots of exciting new things in the world for toddlers to discover, but sometimes the thing they love best is a story and a cuddle and that's essentially what Ollie is about.


LBR: Often your illustrations have a large amount of space on the page around them.  It seems as though what you leave out is just as important as what you put in.  Do you have a specific concept about letting the pictures have room on the page or does it just happen like that?
AW: Yes, giving the  illustrations space to play and retaining a simplicity in design is important to me. I think it is from the books I was brought up on as  a child and studying graphic design that I enjoy the tradition of space, and crafting not only the illustrations in a book, but the design and typography too. 


LBR: When you pick up other people's picture books what are you looking for?
AW: I am looking for a connection, for my heart to skip a beat. Above my desk I keep a copy of The Picture Book Manifesto – Proclamationhttp://www.thepicturebook.co/  written by a coalition spearheaded by Mac Barnett and Dave Eggers. In the manifesto reads a wonderful line: "A picture book should be fresh, honest, piquant, and beautiful".  So true.


LBR: Are there any illustrators that make you say: "I wish I could do that"?
AW: Some of the illustrators that I find myself looking longingly at their work are:
Taeeun Yoo ,  http://www.taeeunyoo.com/portfolio%20set.htm
Michael Sowa,  http://www.margarethe-illustration.com/35/Michael+Sowa.html
Bruce Ingman, http://www.bruceingman.com/
Jon Klassen, http://www.burstofbeaden.com/


Here is a picture from one of the early drafts for Ollie that Anna was kind enough to share with us:




Anna's awards include:

Best Children's Series Design in the 57th Book Design Awards of Australia for 'I Love to Dance'.

'Little Cat and the Big Red Bus' written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker was chosen by CBCA judges as a Notable Early Childhood Book.

Crichton Award for 'Santa's Aussie Holiday'


And finally here are a few links that you might like to look at to find out more about Anna and Peggy.

Here is Anna's beautiful website:

http://annawalker.com.au/annas-books/frontpage.html

Here is a youtube clip all about Anna Walker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=ZjeKnR4CxB4

Here is Anna's trailer for Peggy:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6fwlJxNoMM

If you would like to come along to Anna's event at The Little Bookroom, North Carlton on Saturday September 1st at 4pm, please RSVP to rsvp@littlebookroom.com.au

Written by Elvira Ralston — August 21, 2012

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