Wombat Books catches up with Emma Middleton about her latest picture book, The Dream Bird.
1. Congratulations on such a visually stunning book. Did it turn out how you imagined?
Yes, the illustrations did turn out how I imagined. The story has a classic feel to me, so I wanted to emulate this style in the illustrations. One of the things that excited me about illustrating the story was the transitions between fantasy and reality. I wanted to create layered illustrations where you could almost see reality merging into the fantastical world.
2. What’s your favourite thing about children’s books?
Gosh, there are so many, I adore children’s books! I think story is one of the most powerful tools that is essential to us in a compassionate society. Children learn, empathise and are entertained by story and it offers a real opportunity to plant seeds of inspiration. The combination of words and illustrations is magical. I particularly love it when the visual narrative is left to tell elements of the story, so the young child can be an active participant in the decoding of the narrative.
3. What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?
The best thing about being an illustrator is having the opportunity to give a child beautiful pictures to absorb and enjoy.
4. What book are you currently reading?
To be honest I always have a few picture book under my bed, but I have just recently started The Shepherd’s Hut.
5. Did you have trouble sleeping when you were a kid? Were there any crazy techniques you tried to get to sleep? i.e. was milk and cookies a fav?
I do remember having milk with honey, but I was actually one of those strange children who often asked to go to bed. Now I realise how lucky my parents were regarding bedtime.
6. On what adventure would you like the Dream Bird to take you?
I would love to go on a tropical underwater adventure. Hopefully the Dream Bird can hold her breath!