Monday, August 31, 2015

Candlewick Press Presents: Pat-a-Cake Baby by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

About Book

Mother-daughter team Joyce and Polly Dunbar offer a sweet and whimsical confection for babies, inspired by a nursery rhyme.

It’s late at night, and everyone is sleeping—except for pat-a-cake baby! All dressed up in his chef’s coat and hat, baby wants to make a very special cake. Time to wake up Candy baby, Jelly baby, and All sorts baby—miniature cherubic figures who float through the pages to lend a hand. One by one, they add ingredients, from glitzy sugar to yolky jokey eggs, until it’s time to bake, pat, and decorate the cake. Finally it’s ready for tasting, just in time for a special guest (the man in the moon!) to have a slice. This surreal and colorful treat is just right for sending little ones off to dreamland.

Buy on Amazon, B&N, IndieBound

About Joyce Dunbar

Over 10 years, she has run a Writer's course in the Greek island of Skyros. Also, for the Arvon Foundation in the UK.

In 1998 she cycled across Cuba for the National Deaf Children's Society. In 1999 she travelled across India to the Himalayas with a guru.

From 2006-2009 she was a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at U.E.A. She embarked on a book for adults which is still a work in progress.

She loves the City where she lives - Norwich, in Norfolk. She also loves Brighton where she got married. Her daughter lives on a seafront flat in Brighton.

She loves animals, gardening, art, theatre, cinema, reading, walking, cycling, gazing out of the window and Leonard Cohen. In another life she would like to be a dancer or an explorer/naturalist.

Her eyes are green. Her favourite colour is green. Her cat is called Minnie Ha-ha. Her son Ben is a photographer.
From 1972 to 1995 she was married to the lawyer who wanted to be an artist. He became an artist.

Questions and Answers

Q: How did you become a children's writer?
A: I married a lawyer who wanted to be an illustrator. He invented a character called JUGG and I thought if I could write a story about this character, my husband could illustrate it and we would live happily ever after. It didn't quite work out like that of course.....

Q: What makes a children's writer?
A: I often wonder about this. Many writers for children had unhappy childhoods and I sometimes think writing is a way of remaking one's childhood. The grown-up that you've become is taking care of the child that you were. In my case it might have been a case of arrested development. I began to go deaf at the age of five and became increasingly lost in my own world. (After university I was told that I was too deaf to teach the deaf, so I taught Shakespeare to the hearing instead, for twenty years).

Q: Why aren't you a serious writer?
A: People often assume that writing for children isn't serious. I think now that a few children's authors have made serious money, this perception has changed. But of course it is serious. Childhood is the most sensitive, intense, freshest period of life; children the most impressionable of readers. Whatever they read has a lasting effect. I often ask myself how 'serious' the world is. When I listen to the news - and the stuff grown-ups get up to. I think, now....if that was happening in a playground.... At the heart of every good children's story is something true.

Q: Is it fun?
A: Yes and no. A lot of it is hard work. A lot of it is refusing to accept failure. But when a story suddenly comes right - which it often does years after it was started - that is a most wonderful feeling. So is the post in the morning when it contains the first rough illustrations of a new book. And then the book itself. It's like Christmas, several times a year.

Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
A: I wasn't brought up in a bookish household so didn't read that much as a child. I was too busy running wild. But I loved Grimm's fairy tales and Aesop's fables and my father read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to us. I can still hear him reading it. But the first book I loved with absolute passion was 'Macbeth' which I read when I was 17. It was like a door swinging wide open into a whole new world. Two of my favourite children's authors now are Maurice Sendak and Arnold Lobel.

Q: Where do ideas come from?
A: Everywhere. it's just a matter of learning to see them and catch them. Ideas are all around. It's all about taking notice of your own life, paying deep attention to even the smallest events.

Q: Do you have any complaints?
A: Well the sheer number of children's books - about 10,000 year in England alone - is a bit daunting. You ask yourself if there's room for any more. I also get depressed at the copycat nature of publishing. I'm not sure that originality always is what publishers are looking for. There's also too much cuteness for my liking. I write cute stories myself but this reflects what publishers accept rather than my range as a writer. But this really is a golden age of children's books and you can't expect to publish only the best.

Q: Is it easy writing for children?
A: People often make this assumption because children's books are short. But this means every word has to earn its keep. It also means that form and pattern - the unspoken parts of the meaning -are very important. You can't just wait for it to happen. You have to make yourself available, sit on the chair, stare at the page. A lot of the time, nothing happens. Then, one moment, an idea drops into your head. I have a row of files on my shelves, numbered one to ten. They are all full of stories at different stages of progress. Sometimes, an idea that I had several years ago will suddenly take shape. You have to hang on to ideas so that your unconscious can work on them. I never discard. The tiniest scrap can become a good story.

Q: Are there any drawbacks?
A: Yes.. I sometimes suspect that I live my life in such a dream that I'm not quite to grips with the real world - which seems mainly to be about football, making money, celebrity, soap operas. and household bills.

Q: You recently published a book on Norwich Market. This was a strange departure for a children's writer. Whatever made you do it?
A: Good question. A mixture of reasons: It seemed a good idea. Norwich Market is almost 1000 years old and a fascinating expression of identity. I thought it would be interesting to explore that. Also, although there is a special thrill in seeing your books translated into several languages, I wanted a more immediate connection with the city in which I live. The residency seemed a good opportunity. It was a bizarre experience, transforming my story stall into a sitting room and being taken for a fortune teller!

Q: What is the very best thing about writing for children?
A: Spinning your straw into gold. You take the ordinary stuff of life and transform it into something magical. Some of my funniest, lightest stories have come out of the most difficult things in my life. So everything that happens - or almost everything - is useful. If you haven't got a problem, you haven't got a story. Stories are never, ever, about everything being all right. They are a place where you can make things all right and this has a very transforming effect on life. The other best thing is working with illustrators. And meeting children. And seeing your words in Zulu or Hebrew or Japanese. And meeting other children's writers. And some wonderful editors who can press the right buttons. And seeing something completed. And the sheer lovely feel of a new book.

About Polly Dunbar

"We all have the ability to change our mood and make ourselves feel happier. All you need is a bit of creativity and a lick of paint," says author/illustrator Polly Dunbar. It was this belief in the transformative power of art that inspired Polly Dunbar's first picture book, FLYAWAY KATIE.
In this buoyant picture book, Polly Dunbar illustrates the strange and wonderful things that happen when a little girl lets her creativity fly. It starts when Katie decides to liven up a gray day. She puts on her brightest clothes, takes hold of a paintbrush, and sets her imagination loose. "I certainly feel much brighter when I put on my best blue shoes," Polly Dunbar says. And readers are guaranteed to get a boost from what KIRKUS REVIEWS calls "a joyous cure for a case of the doldrums . . . exuberant, to say the least."
With her next picture book, DOG BLUE, Polly Dunbar again builds on the theme of the power of creativity. In an engaging tale full of whimsy and humor, the author/illustrator introduces Bertie, a boy who loves dogs and the color blue--and finds a creative way to make his fantasies come true. "DOG BLUE was inspired by a little Dalmation puppet who lives in a blue shoebox with air holes in the top for 'breathing,' " Polly Dunbar says. "The story was written for Neil, his owner, who has blue eyes, a blue sweater, and like Bertie, loves dogs." With illustrations creating a feeling of "informal but elegant simplicity," says KIRKUS, DOG BLUE wins fans for its fetching artwork as well as its clever style.
In addition to creating children's books, Polly Dunbar works as a freelance illustrator in London.

My Thoughts

Baby and friends all congregate in the kitchen at night when baby could not sleep.  There the kitchen came alive with baby in her bakers hat they start making a cake .  As they measure, stir, pour and bake they sing their actions into the the rhyme Pat-a-Cake Baby.  Making one big mess in the process and enjoying themselves immensely.

Pat-a-Cake nursery rhyme has been a part of all of our lives.  The author puts her own spin on this well know rhyme.  I found the new rhyme entertaining and fun.  The baby and her miniature baby helpers  were so precious to see.  I really liked the soft pastel colors used to create the illustrations.  This is a picture book I will definitely be with my grandbabies.  No doubt it will light up their eyes and make them laugh.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Candlewick Press for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.


1 comment:

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