Thanks to the interns at Sourcebooks
, I'm excited to be a part of The Snatchabook
blog tour. The Snatchabook
is a skillfully rhymed bedtime story featuring the cutest little villain, a Snatchabook. The illustrations are cheerful but nuanced, and will offer many details to discover as the book is shared again and again. It's sure to be a bedtime favorite.
's author, Helen Docherty, has graciously accepted an offer to answer a few questions.
Lisa: The Snatchabook
has put me in a lighthearted mood, so here are a few lighthearted questions!
Snatchabook is such a cute name. Was it the seed that started the story, or did it grow from the story?
The idea of a book thief came to me first, and it was
while I was trying to find the right name for him that the character and the
story started to form in my mind. At first I wasn’t sure what he would be like,
or what to call him, so I played around with names; the book cruncher? The book
snatcher? These seemed to suggest quite a menacing character, which wasn’t at
all what I wanted, so I tried inverting the words - and that’s when the
Snatchabook was born. As soon as I had named him, an image started to form in
my mind of a pitiful, lonely little creature who just needs someone to read to
him – hence his desire to steal books, which symbolize to him the joy and
warmth of sharing a story at bedtime. So I guess you could say that the name
and the story came together.
Helen, did you leave Thomas (Docherty) alone to illustrate the story as he imagined it, or could you not resist giving suggestions? (I know that I would have a hard time resisting!)
To be honest, it would have been impossible to resist,
given that we see each other all the time (or at least that’s my excuse)! Actually Tom was more than happy to discuss
the development of the characters and the setting with me – it was a very
collaborative process, and we had lots of fun discussing how the Snatchabook
and Eliza would look. Of course, he added many visual details that I could
never have dreamed up, all of which greatly enhance the story. He always asks
me for feedback at every stage of the illustration process, just as I read him
my stories and seek his advice. It’s great to have a critical eye / ear
available around the clock!
What were your favorite bedtime stories when you were young?
There are too many to choose from! Some of my best early
memories are of being read the Winnie the
stories and being convulsed with laughter. I also loved a series about
a panda pajama case called Ponder, the My
Naughty Little Sister
stories and a Norwegian series by Anne-Cath Vestly about
a little girl called Aurora and her family. Favorite picture books included The Bear’s Winter House
(by John Yeoman
and Quentin Blake), The Giant Jam
(by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway) and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
. I was a huge fan of Russell Hoban’s
Frances books, too. Luckily, I managed to hang on to most of my favorite books
from childhood, and it now gives me enormous pleasure to read them to my own
kids. I hope I can keep doing that for as long as possible.
|(The Snatchabook has apparently snatched all of Helen's favorites!)|
Lisa: How wonderful will it be when your children can read The Snatchabook to their children? You don't have to answer that one. I think I can imagine!
Helen: Our five year old daughter Lucia read it to us the other day – or rather, to the
gorgeous Snatchabook puppet that Pippa Curnick at Alison Green Books (our UK
publishers) made for us. Lucia is just learning to read, but she knows the
words almost off by heart. So that was a very special experience indeed!
Such a fun story. I can't wait to try it out in story time at the library! Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat with you,
Visit The Snatchabook's website to snatch up an Educator's Guide and Activity Kit.
My copies of the Snatchabook were provided at my request by NetGalley and Sourcebooks.