Friday, September 14, 2012

Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino

Every Friday I invite an educator or a children's book creator to finish my sentences. Today, I am honored to feature author Ame Dyckman and author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino. They are the masterminds behind one of the most buzzed-about picture books of 2012, Boy + Bot.

I wrote the words in red, Ame Dyckman wrote the words in black, and Dan Yaccarino wrote the words in orange. Thank you, Ame and Dan!

*I connect with librarians, teachers, and readers...

AME: because I LOVE people who love books! There’s an instant “I get you! And you get me!” magic link there.

*I Skyped with Katherine Sokolowki’s (@katsok) summer reading group. They...

AME: were amazing! Fantastic kids who read for fun asking me about writing? I grinned for days! (And Katherine’s my hero for starting the camp!)

*Boy and Bot are...

DAN: best friends. Because friends come in all shapes, sizes, colors—and materials.

AME: Ditto what Dan said! Boy and Bot don’t care that they’re different on the outside. And that proves they’re the same on the inside.

Ame Dyckman’s text…

DAN: was a joy to illustrate. She provided just enough for me to be able to tell my half of the story, too!

*Dan Yaccarino’s illustrations…

AME: are brilliant and sweet and funny and perfect! I couldn’t love Boy and Bot more.

DAN: Awww! Really?

AME: Affirmative!

*Picture books...

DAN: are an art unto themselves. Many people—even adult and upper grade authors—think that a picture book is easy to write and that it's just a short, dumbed-down book. It isn't. It's a delicate balance between words and pictures where if either the words or pictures were taken away, it would tell less than half the story. They NEED each other. As Aristotle said, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

AME: Was Aristotle the one in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

DAN: No, that was Socrates.

AME: Oh, yeah! “So-crates!”

DAN: Focus, Ame!

AME: Right! Picture books are entire little universes that fit on 32 pages.

*Reading is...


AME: a peppermint.

DAN: A peppermint?!

AME: Yeah! Reading is a peppermint for your brain! Sometimes it’s KAPOW! Sometimes it’s Ahhh! But it’s always good.

DAN: I’ll never look at a peppermint the same way again.

*Mr. Schu, you should have asked us about...

AME: the time I scribbled down a story idea while parasailing! And about my next book, Tea Party Rules, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Viking; Fall, 2013).

DAN: some wonderful real estate opportunities in Florida, because I have loads of swampland property down there. (Do you like alligators?) And about my next book, Kate and Nate Are Running Late by Kate Egan (Feiwel & Friends, October 16, 2012).

Not because I illustrated it, but because it's a wonderful book that I just happened to illustrate.

AME: Thanks for having us, Mr. Schu! Thanks, everybody! Keep on reading, and… be excellent to each other!

DAN: Ame!

AME: Couldn’t resist!

The Sharp-Schu Book Club is discussing Boy + Bot on October 3, 2012. I hope to "see" you there.


  1. Great interview, Mr. Schu! I love BOY + BOT (other than my new copy of FERDINAND, it's the first picture book I bought as an adult) and have a recent appreciation for how the text and illustrations in picture books work together to tell the whole story.
    And Ame is awesome, so there's that, too. ;-)

  2. Lively interview. I love this pairing of Ame and Dan for a perfect library read aloud book. Of course now I will have to go and watch Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure again. I like how Joan of Arc taught aerobics in the mall.

  3. Great interview! BOY + BOT is wonderful, and these two seem like such a great team. Maybe they'll get to do more awesome picture books together sometime! Until then, we shall have to enjoy their work separately. :)