Monday 17 August 2015

The ReadItDaddy Interview - A chat with Beatrice Alemagna, Author and Illustrator of the wondrous "The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty" (Thames and Hudson)

We're very lucky to have a guest on the blog today to celebrate the launch of her new book. Beatrice Alemagna has come up with an exciting and truly gorgeous tale of a young girl's quest to find something extra special (and extra squishy) for her mum's birthday present. So without further ado, here's Beatrice Alemagna!
Hi Beatrice! Thank you for talking to us at ReadItDaddy. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your fabulous book "The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty"

I’m self-taught. I never attended a school of illustration, and everything I’ve learnt has been through making children’s books.
‘Le Merveilleux Dodu-Velu-Petit’ (The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy) is a book that required six years of reflection and two years of solid work.
This book is partly a homage to Pippi Longstocking (my hero when I was child) and the fascination I experienced when I was little: entering a shop full of things that were waiting to be discovered.

Inside this book lie the core themes of nearly all of my books: travel, departure, the search for something, and accepting oneself. I think, deep down, I always want to tell the same story: a fragile being that finds great strength within themselves.

We love the idea that the story celebrates Edith (Eddie's) wondrous imagination. What sort of feedback have you had from children about the book? Do they see themselves in Eddie?

I think every child always feels not good enough, not big enough or not strong enough in their I hope this story will touch them!

Your artwork is mind-blowingly fantastic (marvellous in fact!) - Tell us a bit about the books that have influenced you as a writer and an artist?

I have 3 picturebooks that I really loved and I still love today:

Marceline et le monstre (Victoria Chess)

I tre briganti (Tomi Ungerer)

Silvester and the magic Peeble (William Steig).

...and most of the books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and the Italian author Gianni Rodari.

From Charlotte (aged 7):

What's your favourite place to write or paint / draw?

Every silent and light place, especially the fields.

2) What's the best way to get better at writing and drawing when you're 7?

It was the oven in the kitchen! Actually this strange oven had a big door with a mirror and I was used to stay many hours sitting on the floor, looking at me on the mirror and drawing little details of my face and my kitchen.

What's your favourite animal? (Mine's a mongoose but it used to be Guinea Pigs!)

I really do love sheep! (but guinea pigs are adorable too)

Our thanks to Beatrice for taking time to answer our tricky questions! "The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty" by Beatrice Alemagna is out today from Thames and Hudson.