Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Outstanding In The Rain - a bookwrap


     Illustrator and writer Frank Viva is a Toronto-based artist and remembers his Coney Island childhood trips with his parents in New York.  He reproduces these memories in his outstanding book which is targeted for ages 3-7 (but I know it is ageless, I'm living proof).  He captures the thrill and excitement of the crowds, the giant wooden roller coaster, the Cyclone, and of course the Deno's Wonder Wheel.  He invites us along as he recalls the wonderment of the vendors selling cotton candy, the tantalizing ice cream cones,  the inviting Italian ice, and best-in-the-world hotdogs just waiting to be scarfed.  Eyes open wide as shady fortune tellers and mind-boggling freak shows lure you in for a visit.

     The plot of the story is very simple.  A young boy and his mom decide to celebrate his fourth birthday at Coney Island.  The boy indulges in his favourite ice cream,  enjoys a picnic on the beach, and enjoys many of the rides.  Alas it begins to rain, causing a mass exodus, (the little boy and his mom included), to board train D and head off for home.  A fun day is terminated.   

     So what is so exciting about Frank's book?  He brilliantly chose a five colour palette for his illustrations. They bend and stretch in a retro graphic style.  Then he strategically places die-cut holes to create new words and images with every page turned.  This fun, unique design causes pure child-hood delight. The book is an interactive playground as you read through it.  He cleverly uses oronyms throughout (two phrases that are pronounced the same but mean different things).  The words and the pictures play and connect creating a delicious celebration of life!  I highly recommend this book.  Be sure to check out my interview with the author below.

Unwrapping the pictures for you to take a peek...

About the author...

I was privileged to interview Frank and you will smile at his responses to the questions I asked him... ladies and gentlemen I give you Frank Viva...

Rapid fire questions:

What is your dream car?

     I have a dreamboat. Does that count? 

Do you prefer to give a gift or to receive one?

     I enjoy re-gifting.

Do you prefer a sit down meal or a picnic?

     I prefer to stand at a distance and quietly watch      people eating.

Are you left-handed or right-handed?

     I never discuss politics in public.

What is your favourite drink?  (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)

     Anything with a spigot.

Serious stuff:

What was your favourite book as a child?

     Go Dog Go! by P.D Eastman. I think it was the rhythmic quality of the text that hooked me.

What person influenced you most in your lifetime?

     I have had some great teachers and coworkers along the way and different people influenced me at different stages in my life, but if I look back over my entire lifetime, I’d have to say, my parents.

What motivated you to become an author?

     I like that idea that I might one day come up with something entirely original through a unique combination of words and pictures in a well designed book.

Are you an author full-time?  If not what else do you do?

     I run a graphic design studio in Toronto. vivaandco.com.

If you could pick any job in the world (or beyond) what would it be?

     All is well – I would’t change a thing.

What do you like to do just to relax?

     Putter in the boathouse at the cottage.

What adult authors do you enjoy reading so you can pass it on to us?

     Vonnegut, Nabokov, Donleavy and many others.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

     This changes for each book. Sometimes it will pop into my head. Sometimes it comes from a series of boozy conversations with one of my editors.

Do you have any new books planned for the future that you could tell us about?

     I have a book coming out this fall (2015). Published by MoMA, it’s called "Young Charlotte Filmmaker."

If you could be a book, or a character in a book, which one would you be?

     Xerxes in Edward Gorey’s "The Gashlycrumb Tinies".

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at: storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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