Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PRESTO! It's Stephen Savage!

With fist pumps, peeks into his sketch books, a preview of his newest book due out in the spring and even a quick pause to get his wire statue built by his elementary self in the spirit of Alexander Calder, this was one amazing Skype!  Thank you, Stephen!

He made a point to say and remember every child that came up to the camera to ask a question.  Each one got a fist pump.  Jack brought in his personal copy of Where's Walrus, got it "signed" and personalized by Stephen.  Lucky!

Jack getting his book "signed"

In spite of our rough start (blame it on technology), it was a great Skype.  Not only did we get to ask questions and hear all about where Stephen's ideas come from and how he screened and almost didn't pick up his Geisel acceptance call from our friend, Miss Amanda, but he also drew Supertruck, Walrus, Penguin and even by request, a Boston Red Sox, all for us.  When that was happening, you could hear a pin drop in the library! We could have all watched him draw for hours.

Someone asked how he got the idea to do a wordless picture book.  After a little trial and error and working with his editor, it just came to be.  "Some things just happen because that's the way things go."

Another question we asked was whether he wrote the words first or drew the pictures.  As we know, every artist is different.  Stephen writes first.  "The words give me all the information I need to make the pictures."

I forget who asked this, but it was my favorite question.  "Do you always say 'presto' when you cook?"
We found out that Stephen does a lot of the cooking in his family so he usually says, "Hurry up and come to the table! It's getting cold."  I bet he's a great cook but he admitted that he's like the mixed up truck sometimes and wonders if he put the right ingredients in, such as the right cheese.  Hmmm...if he's wondering if it's the right cheese or not, then he's totally sold me on dinner at his house.  I love ALL kinds of cheese, the more unique the better.  Maybe that's a story for his next book?

I have been around a lot of writers and illustrators where the "What's your favorite book?" question has come up and Stephen's is not an unusual answer, the classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon.  Harold seems to be an inspiration for many illustrators. I distinctly remember Bryan Collier answering that because he thought he looked a little like Harold.

Steve showed gave us a peek into his new book and we even got to meet his dog!

The new book!

We could have sat with Steve for hours but alas we had work to do and I am sure he had work to do, too.  At least we hoped he did so he could keep making great books for kids.

The 2017 Geisel Committee with 2016 Geisel Honor Award winner, Stephen Savage!

And our obligatory leap!  Look at the air on some of those kids!

Thank you so much for a great Skype, Stephen!  We look forward to reading Little Plane Learns to Write in the spring and more books by you in the future!  And know that Castleton Elementary School always has an open door for you, just a 15 minute drive from the Albany Amtrak station! ;-)

"Every kid is a great artist.  Some kids just stop doing it."
-Stephen Savage, 2016

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