A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen

Hello, Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen! I haven’t stopped smiling since I learned you collaborated on a Mercy Watson picture book. I cannot wait to celebrate A Piglet Named Mercy’s book birthday on April 2, 2019!

Kate, what ran through your head the first time you saw the finished cover illustration for A Piglet Named Mercy?

Kate DiCamillo: I don’t know if it was my head really--it was more what ran through my heart.  And what ran through my heart was something along the lines of: ohhhhhhhhhh, can I pick that piglet up and hug her?

Yes, I want to pick up Mercy and hug her as well. 

Chris, what was the most fun thing about working on A Piglet Named Mercy?

Chris Van Dusen: The most fun thing for me as the illustrator was imagining these characters at a younger age. I had a blast painting Mercy as a tiny, roly-poly Piglet with pink cheeks. But it slipped my mind (until after I spoke with my agent Steve Malk) that Mercy isn’t the only character in this book who is younger. Mr. and Mrs. Watson, too, should be younger. So it was fun to picture how their hair might be different, how their bodies might be different, but still capture their personalities. 

Kate, I always crave toast with a great deal of butter on it while reading aloud the Mercy Watson chapter book series. Has Mercy loved toast with a great deal of butter on it since she was a piglet?

Kate: Mr. Schu, I don’t want to give anything away about this piglet’s story, but suffice it to say that toast does play a role here.

Chris, what would we see if we visited your studio?

Chris: If you visited my studio, the first thing you’d see are the stairs that lead up to my work space. The risers  are printed to resemble the spines of my first seven picture books. This was my wife Lori’s idea and it always surprises visitors. You’d also see a huge drawing board where I paint my pictures, about twenty toy robots lined up on my flat files, a few original illustrations hanging on the walls and toys and trinkets everywhere. It’s a really fun place to work.

Kate, please finish these sentence starters:

Deckawoo Drive is my favorite street. I keep wanting to go back and visit it again and again. 

Story is what connects me and you and readers all over the world. It is a great gift that helps us see each other. 

Chris, please finish these sentence starters:

Mr. Watson and Mrs. Watson are ordinary people who are smitten by an unexpected wonder who wanders into their lives.

Picture books are the perfect way to tell a story and a perfect place in which to get lost.

Look for A Piglet Named Mercy on April 2, 2019. 


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