Some writers and illustrators have the remarkable ability to create characters who become friends at first glance. Wong Herbert Yee is exactly that kind of artist!
We fell in love with Fireman Small the first time we met him. And who could resist the gentle charm of Mouse and Mole? (That delightful pair is back in a new title, by the way. It's called Abracadabra! Magic with Mouse and Mole chick it out!)
So who is the genius behind these and so many other wonderful characters, you ask? In case you don't already know--because perhaps you live in a chicken coop and don't get out very much--we shall tell!
It's the amazing Wong Herbert Yee and we are pleased to have him in the coop! Welcome!
When you create a book, do the pictures or story come to you first?
Story, always. Even though I was an artist before becoming a writer.
How do you know when what you write is funny??
Mostly during school visits. Kids react more to the illustrations, though. They'll point, stare open mouthed and giggle. Such natural responses are the most rewarding.
What other careers would you like to see the intrepid Mr. Small pursue?
The Smalls are actually two different characters. Fireman Small and Detective Small are twin brothers. There could be another Small in the future, possibly a sister.
Do you have any tips for writing funny books?
I'm not sure that you can or should teach funny.
Do you have any tips for illustrating funny books?
Underwear is always good for a chuckle. Situations, the more absurd the better.
What are some of your favorite funny books?????
I'm a big fan of George and Martha, Frog and Toad . . . I guess the kind of humor I like involves how two characters react and respond to one another. It allows the reader to laugh at and with. It is what inspired my Mouse and Mole books.
If you could live in one of your books, which one would you choose?
Definitely Mouse and Mole, nature stuff. I like the idea of living in a tree, probably upstairs rather than downstairs. I'm always wondering what those two are up to.
Do you prefer The Marx Bros or Three Stooges?
Three Stooges! I watched them even while in college.
What is your Dream Job for a Day?
I couldn't think of anything better than what I'm currently doing, except maybe having my studio in a tree house.
My next book will be out in the fall of 08. It's called A Brand New Day another in the Mouse and Mole series. On my drawing board are the rough sketches for Summer Days, Summer Nights. The 3rd book of a seasonal quartet that began with Tracks in the Snow (Holt 2003), and was followed by Who Likes Rain? this past spring.
If I'm dreaming, please don't wake me. Let sleeping dogs lie!