Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

Dreaming with Emma Middleton

 Wombat Books catches up with Emma Middleton about her latest picture book, The Dream Bird.

emma middleton 1. Congratulations on such a visually stunning book. Did it turn out how you imagined?

Yes, the illustrations did turn out how I imagined. The story has a classic feel to me, so I wanted to emulate this style in the illustrations. One of the things that excited me about illustrating the story was the transitions between fantasy and reality. I wanted to create layered illustrations where you could almost see reality merging into the fantastical world.

 2. What’s your favourite thing about children’s books?

Gosh, there are so many, I adore children’s books! I think story is one of the most powerful tools that is essential to us in a compassionate society. Children learn, empathise and are entertained by story and it offers a real opportunity to plant seeds of inspiration. The combination of words and illustrations is magical. I particularly love it when the visual narrative is left to tell elements of the story, so the young child can be an active participant in the decoding of the narrative.

3. What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?

The best thing about being an illustrator is having the opportunity to give a child beautiful pictures to absorb and enjoy.Dream Bird finalhigh text5 32

4. What book are you currently reading?

To be honest I always have a few picture book under my bed, but I have just recently started The Shepherd’s Hut.

5. Did you have trouble sleeping when you were a kid? Were there any crazy techniques you tried to get to sleep? i.e. was milk and cookies a fav?

I do remember having milk with honey, but I was actually one of those strange children who often asked to go to bed. Now I realise how lucky my parents were regarding bedtime.

6. On what adventure would you like the Dream Bird to take you?

I would love to go on a tropical underwater adventure. Hopefully the Dream Bird can hold her breath!

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Dreaming with Aleesah Darlison

Wombat Books catches up with Aleesah Darlison about her latest picture book, The Dream Bird.

Darlison Mar15 0291. Did you have trouble falling asleep when you were kid? What crazy techniques did you try to make yourself sleepy?
Sometimes I would have trouble going to sleep as a child and I know that my own children have all had trouble sleeping from time to time, especially when they were very young. Who wants to go to bed when everyone else is having fun? As an adult, I often have trouble going to sleep. We’ve tried lots of insomnia cures in our house, such as: walking clockwise around a table ten times, counting sheep, counting backwards from 100, drinking hot milk, having a hot shower and meditation/breathing exercises.

2. What’s the best dream you can remember?
Oh, there have been so many good ones! Usually, the best ones are when I’ve written a story in my dream and I’m then able to wake up, remember it and write it down before it’s lost.

3. What’s your favourite place that George visits in The Dream Bird?Dream Bird finalhigh text5 24
Probably where George leaps along mountain ranges beside snow leopards. Emma Middleton’s illustration of the snow leopard is particularly striking, although I love all of her illustrations in the book. She has done such a marvellous job of bringing the story to life visually and recreating the images I had in my mind for George’s dreams. I’m guessing that child readers will prefer the kingdoms made of lollies the most!

4. Dreams are thoughts; thoughts are dreams. What’s your opinion on this?
There’s definitely an element of truth in that statement, although I think the thoughts can be so deeply buried in our sub-conscious that we don’t realise that they’re important. And if the thought plays out in our dreams, we might dismiss it as being fanciful or irrelevant because it ‘was just a dream’. Perhaps it’s time we all took more notice of our dreams!

5. Sum up The Dream Bird in 5 words.
Evocative. Sumptuous. Relatable. Dreamy. Surprising.

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