Trucking down the road with Susanna Leonard Hill this summer has been a barrel of fun. Just this stop and one more to go on August 15 over at A Penny and Her Jots. With such an inclusive tour, a total of 15 stops, what can a blogger say at this point? Along with my review, I've decided to focus on the art and physicality of the book. And, there's a prize for one lucky reader at the end.
THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT by Susanna Leonard Hill roared into the world near the end of July, 2017. From the fun, interactive cover that reveals all sorts of "movers," to bright, upbeat rhyme, young readers and their parents will enjoy this picture book again and again. We're introduced to all sorts of trucks: bull dozers, scrapers, graders, and even the paint marker. The cumulative tale and guide to the featured trucks add another layer to Susanna's newest. Writers, take note, this picture book puts s spin on the classic rhyme THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT. What other nursery rhymes can benefit from a twist or retelling? Put on your thinking caps.
Q & A with Susanna w/An Art Emphasis
Kathy: I love the entire package design of THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT. Can you talk a bit about the look and feel of the book?
Susanna: The cover is sturdily constructed to look like a tire. The book binding is striped black and yellow like construction zone caution tape. The part of the tire where the hubcap would be in an interactive wheel which young readers can spin, showing all the different vehicles in the story. It’s tons of fun!
Kathy: Did you make any suggestions about the interactive cover?
Susanna: I did not! J That was the brainchild and work of the editor, and possibly the book designer. I know a few different ideas were considered – they wanted to get exactly the right cover for the book.
Kathy: As you wrote this picture book, did you consciously think about make "room" for illustrations?
Susanna: I tend to think visually when I write. So I guess the answer to that question is yes, although kind of subconsciously. I do consciously think about what words I need, what illustrations the illustrator might potentially draw, and how the words and the art could work together. I know when I write that sometimes I’m putting in words to get ideas across that will later be cut because once the art exists they won’t be necessary. But in the case of this story, the text was not changed.
Kathy: What are your feelings on art notes for authors? Do you ever include them with your submissions to editors?
Susanna:I trust that if I write a strong story, the editor will be able to envision the art. And I trust illustrators to have the vision and creativity to make the art. I have no wish to interfere or dictate – it would be unwelcome and hamper the illustrator’s freedom of expression. That said, there are some cases where the text is quite spare, or where humor or surprise or something else depends on something different being shown in the illustration than is suggested by the text. Although I try to keep art notes to a minimum, I do use them occasionally in situations like that because they are necessary to a proper understanding of the text. THE
ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT was straightforward in that sense, though, so no art notes were included.
Kathy: Many of us know you not only as an author, but as a wonderful writing instructor. What was your biggest challenge and biggest joy in writing TRUCKS?
Susanna:My biggest challenge was definitely figuring out how to get all the trucks to fit into the rhyme scheme and meter. I’ve said it before, but it’s kind of like a puzzle – choosing words, then arranging and rearranging them until you get meaning, rhythm and story balanced in rhyme. My biggest joy was probably when I finally thought I’d gotten it right J But it was also a joy to write this story on another level because I wrote it for my son, so it was something I could do for him and share with him even before it was published.
One lucky reader will win a copy of THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT by being the first one to do two simple things:
1. Leave a comment on this blog and
2. Using the hashtag #trucksontour link to this blog on either Facebook or Twitter and make sure to tag me. (I'm Kathy Halsey on FB and my twitter handle is @infowoman1.) Good luck. I'll write down the names and have Wiley Corgi choose one by tomorrow morning. Baroo!