Friday, April 6, 2018

Kalinka and Grakkle - three questions with Julie Paschkis

Kalinka and Grakkle
by Julie Paschkis
Peachtree, 2018

Welcome to the final stop on the Kalinka and Grakkle blog tour.  I don't do many blog tours, but I love the artistic style of Julie Paschkis and so am pleased to participate. Her combination of ink and watercolors combines humor with a delicate and detailed art form reminiscent of Ukrainian psysanky

Julie Paschkis was kind enough to answer three questions for me. 
Q: In the author bio for Kalinka and Grakkle, it notes that, "One day, Kalinka flew into Julie's studio when she was rewriting the story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."  Always helpful, Kalinka turned it into a story about herself (and Grakkle)."  Was that a metaphorical bird that flew into your studio, or an actual one? If it was a real one, I'd love to know what species. (I love birds!)

 A: The bird that flew into my studio was a metaphorical bird. I called her Goldibird at first; the seed of her character was Goldilocks. I always wondered why Goldilocks felt entitled to make herself so at home in someone else’s house. Goldibird was bossy - she just took over everything. I realized that she felt entitled because she thought she was helpful. She was self deluded as well as bossy, but she always meant well. Once the bears were kicked out of the story I renamed her Kalinka. I have had a real bird fly into my house (years ago). I caught it with a big soft towel and then released it back outside. Maybe it left the seed of an idea.

 Q:Just curious, although he's not a bird, is Grakkle's name a reference to the (messy) common grackle?

A: When I imagined what the beast would sound like,  “Grakkk” came to mind. It’s an outraged sound, and a funny sound - not a scary sound. So I called him Grakkle. The name of the bird- grackle -comes from the Latin graculus and means crow or jackdaw.  I guess that the word also originally came from the sound.
Q:  Like many librarians, I review picture books even though I am not an artist.  I try to learn as much as possible about picture book art via informational books, webinars, reviewer chats, and title page information.  As an author/artist, please tell me (and other reviewers) what aspects of a book do you wish we'd give more attention; or what do reviewers often miss?  (to which the polite and diplomatic Julie Paschkis replied ...)

A.  I don’t feel that there is any specific or general thing that reviewers miss. People brings their own stories to the experience of reading a book. I put in as much as I can of my story, but the experience of reading and looking at it will be different for each person. That’s a good thing!

Read and excerpt from Kalinka and Grakkle here.  Kids will surely enjoy this odd-couple friendship story.

Previous stops on the Kalinka and Grakkle blog tour:

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