Welcoming a Busy-Eyed Kidlit Author!
Anne Marie Pace
The original idea came from the initial couplet: Big-eyed bug/Stalk-eyed slug. I seem to remember thinking it up while driving, so I asked my son to write it down for me on a scrap of paper. I had trouble coming up with enough bug-related verses to fill a manuscript, but when I remembered the fun my family had had on a day in Central Park a number of years ago, I was inspired to broaden my thinking about different kinds of eyes into its current incarnation.
How was writing this story different from some of your others?
Well, for one thing, it’s much shorter. I think it’s only about 60 words. For another, it rhymes. I write in rhyme about a quarter of the time, but this is my first published rhymer (another is coming in 2019!). Rhyming books are so much fun to read with kids, and they’re also good for kids learning to read, since the rhyming creates a structure in which kids are more easily able to predict new words.
Do tell about the revision process for BUSY-EYED DAY.
I think I did less revision on this manuscript than I’ve ever done for any of my other books, but there was still some. I didn’t do any for my agent; we sent it out just as I sent it to her. After Beach Lane acquired the manuscript, there were a few changes, but they were pretty minimal. My editor Andrea Welch wanted me to add a refrain every few stanzas. And there were small changes throughout. For example, we talked some about whether girl and squirrel rhyme. They don’t rhyme in every English or American accent, but we decided to stay with it anyway. And there was a couplet that read Bog-eyed frog/Frog-eyed dog which was revised to read Side-eyed frog/Wide-eyed dog because there wasn’t really a bog; the frog is in a pond. The biggest change was the title, which was originally BIG-EYED BUG, but some people felt that promised kids a bug book and it’s not a bug book, so we went with BUSY-EYED DAY, which does keep its promise.
When you first saw Frann’s illustrations, what did you love about them? Did the end result surprise you in a good way?
Oh, gosh, this is hard because I’m not good at describing art. I can tell you that as soon as Andrea mentioned Frann’s name and I looked at her website, I was smitten by her style. I love the bright natural colors and I love the way she uses brushstrokes for beautiful, interesting effects. My favorite spread in the book is the last one, which takes a bird’s-eye view of the park and we can see all the different people and animals that Sammi and her family have seen during their busy-eyed day.
Why are you excited to see this book in the hands of children?
Getting books into the hands of kids is the whole point and I like to see their reactions when they hear the story and see the illustrations. Hopefully, they will like it and not say, “Read a different one, Mom; this one’s not very good.” But that’s always a risk. (Smile!)
Order your copy of BUSY-EYED DAY from an indie near you.