Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon

I am honored to welcome author-illustrator Annette Simon to Watch. Connect. Read. Her newest picture book, Robot Zombie Frankenstein!, hits shelves next Tuesday. It is a colorful and hilarious tale that is perfect for story time. I read it to two kindergarten classes. Did they love it? AFFIRMATIVE!

How did you come up with the idea for Robot Zombie Frankenstein!?

Annette Simon: My sister, Denise, was (and still is) a trickster. She and I played games all the time, trying to outwit each other. I blame her for this book.

My sons also show up in the robots. My youngest wore a tie and a pirate hat to his 5th birthday party. He loved to cook even then, and had his own chef hat and apron. My older son liked to eat more than cook, and was obsessed with superheroes, disguises, and outer space.

My students love the colorful shapes and costumes. Please share the process for creating the artwork for Robot Zombie Frankenstein!

Annette Simon: Thank you! That artwork was created in a computer program I learned while working in an ad agency, years ago. It is called Quark, and it is used typically for layout, not drawing. Long story short, I select photo and text boxes of different sizes and shapes (like a circle, or a rectangle), choose their colors, and layer all together to create an image. Some things, like the superheroes capes, are drawn freestyle, with the program's hand tool. I don't know of anyone else who uses Quark this way. Do you?

What is your favorite type of pie?

Annette Simon: That is an easy one. Although I love any kind of pie (except mincemeat), my absolute favorite was made by my grandmother, Margaret Carroll of Fowler, Indiana. She was a great cook, and her cherry pie looked like the one in the book: cherries oozing everywhere, and the flakiest crust ever. Mmmm...

As a child, did you imagine you would grow up to create children's books?

Annette Simon: No. While I've always loved to draw and read, I never really thought about the people behind the books. I guess I saw books as magical entities all their own. They just were.

Who are some authors and illustrators whose picture books inspire you?

Annette Simon: The first book I truly read on my own was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Sam-I-am changed my life.

When I was 7 or 8, I tried to draw in the style of Holly Hobbie. Also, Charles Schultz.

Though he didn't attempt any children's books, my dad inspired me constantly, as he drew all the time: on cards, cardboard, tablecloths, cement floors, driveways, and on our basement walls. He still draws and paints almost every day. You should see what he does with the floor lamps he creates from golf bags!

As an adult, Lois Ehlert's Color Zoo made me think, "Hey, maybe there is a place for me in the creation of books."

I'm inspired by picture books by Leo Lionni, (Little Blue and Little Yellow), Eric Carle, Chris Raschka, Vladimir Radunsky, Marla Frazee, Maira Kalman, and Carin Berger. Also, Paul O. Zelinsky, Jack Prelutsky, Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, and Lucy Cousins. Their work is joyous.

Other faves are Patrick McDonnell's Me...Jane, Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back, and books by my pals, Chris Barton and Liz Garton-Scanlon, Shark v. Train and All the World.

And pretty much anything by Mo Willems. He is my picture book hero.

Who is yours?

Rules for the Giveaway

1. The giveaway runs from April 17 to 11:59 p.m. on April 20.

2. You must be at least 13 years old.

3. Please pay it forward. :)

Download the wonderful Robot Zombie Frankenstein! activity kit.

Annette Simon is giving away two copies of Robot Zombie Frankenstein! Click here for more details.

Look for Robot Zombie Frankenstein! on April 24, 2012.


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