One Of My Most Enjoyable Projects

design, idea, illustration

It could be my age, or perhaps the fat that I have found some extra time these days, but I have ben looking at work done so far. It has thrown up some pleasant surprises! First, it seems that I have worked on more books than I thought. And secondly, when I look at them I can almost remember each brush stroke. Children’s publishing has changed and I always wonder what it must be like for first time author/illustrators now. Sure, it must be exciting, but go back twenty or so years ago and it was a fantastic time to have ideas and be an ‘author’. I could go on, but I won’t…

I recently worked on this title for Holiday House, whose style and dealings reminded me very much of the old days in the best way. The whole experience made it one of the most enjoyable projects for a very long time. The Little Plant Doctor matched my mood at the time and I have looked for other similar projects since. MAny ideas popped into my head; what about the Banana Boat Song (six foot, seven foot, eight foot, bunch!)? Or, the story of Pele, to ame a couple?

Anyway, it set me on a new and different path. It isn’t necessarily an easy one to take, as it may not be as lucrative as the mainstream, but it has been very rewarding so far. Watch this space

Booklist Review: The Little Plant Doctor


Booklist review

The Little Plant Doctor: A Story about George Washington Carver.

Marzollo, Jean (Author) , Wilson-Max, Ken (Illustrator) Apr 2011. 32 p. Holiday, hardcover, $16.95. (9780823423255). 630.92.

Told from the viewpoint of a talking tree on the plantation where George Washington Carver spent his young childhood, this handsome picture-book biography tells how the famous African American scientist always nurtured plants and studied them, but the law did not allow black children to go to school. Finally, at age 12, Carver tells his beloved tree the exciting news that he is leaving for school. Today, the tree is part of the national historic site where crowds come to see for themselves where Carver grew up. The fantasy elements distract from the amazing details of Carver’s life. It is Wilson-Max’s beautiful, unframed acrylic paintings that will grab readers with images of the boy with his beloved plants and delighting in books, as well as the clearly labeled images of the peanut plant on the end pages. Extensive final notes with questions and answers for young children and for older readers fill in more fascinating facts about science and history, including the note that Carver discovered more than 300 uses for the peanut.

— Hazel Rochman





The Little Plant Doctor

african, character, children's books, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing, stories

Published by Holiday house this spring (2011), written by Jean Marzollo. It was a great project to work on and gave my work a new freshness.