Saturday, April 20, 2013
Just Like My Papa
The bookshop was a busy place today. Mike Wohnoutka commented that he always expects to see just his family in front of him at a publication party, but the place was packed with children, parents, librarians, and fellow authors and illustrators. Everyone came to celebrate the release of his latest book, Just Like My Papa, written by Toni Buzzeo (and a companion to their collaboration Stay Close to Mama). The story centers on Kito (whose name means gem in Swahili), a lion cub who wants so badly to be like his papa, the king of the savanna. That patient but powerful lion king the young cub, teaching him skills and lessons that will prepare him for life.
Mike's illustrations add such emotion and playfulness to the text! He confessed to the crowd that when a new manuscript arrives for consideration, he usually feels like he cannot create the art for another book. Yet somehow, as he draws and contemplates, a certain image will inspire him and instill that same confidence that has guided him through 17 books. In this case, it was the drawing of Kito asleep in his father's paw and the sketches he made of Kito playing. The audience was fortunate to view those things, as well as the sequence of sketches to drawings to final painting of the last double-spread of the book. It is a perfect book to share with little ones who want to follow in their father's footsteps.