4 Questions and 2 Sentence Starters with Greg Pizzoli

Whoa! Hold on to your seat!  You're about to watch my favorite book trailer of 2014. 

Awesome, right? A real winner, right? It makes you want to run out and buy two copies of Number One Sam, right? Yes. Yes. Yes.  I planned on celebrating Number One Sam on its book birthday (May 13), but I couldn't wait to share the book trailer with you. I hope you'll also celebrate Sam next week! :) 

Mr. Schu: I love everything about Number One Sam: the cover, the awesome case, the black-and-white checkered endpapers, the details on the verso page, the feel and smell of the paper, the plot, the characters. Everything, I tell you, Greg. 

OK, now that I’m done gushing, I better ask you the first question. What came first: the illustrations or the text?

Greg Pizzoli: Wow! Thanks so much. I’m really thrilled to hear that you like it so much, and that all the work that went into it shows through. I really appreciate it. My publisher, Disney-Hyperion, and especially, my editor, Rotem Moscovich, and my art director, Joann Hill, deserve a lot of the credit, too. They are both amazing, and let me take chances with the inks and the production stuff that, I hope, reinforces the overall feel of the book and the story. We did a lot of test prints to get all of that right, and I’m glad to hear that people notice.

To your question, this book started with a drawing. I made a silkscreen of a dog driving a car, and he stuck around in my sketchbooks until the right story came about.

Crocodile, the star of The Watermelon Seed, makes an appearance in Number One Sam. Will some of the secondary characters in Number One Sam appear in future books?” Please say “YES.”  

Greg Pizzoli: Ha! I was happy to include, “Kroc” in the mix for Number One Sam. And I’m glad you noticed the shout-out to The Watermelon Seed on the tabloid-style magazines on the case cover. I can’t say too much about the future books, but I think it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Sam, Maggie, or the chicks.

What ran through your head when you answered your telephone and Penny Peck, chair of the 2014 Geisel Committee, said, “This is the Geisel committee calling…”? 

Greg Pizzoli: That was totally surreal. Ten minutes earlier, my wife and I were walking home from the art studio we share, and we were discussing the ALA conference, and all the different awards that would be announced the next morning. We got home, and the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t pick it up. When I did, I almost hung up on Penny, because at first I thought she was a telemarketer. I am really glad I didn’t. I’m not sure what ran through my head to be honest. I was shocked, and happy. It’s an amazing honor and I’m just really thankful.

Not Very Scary, your picture book with Carol Brendler, comes out on August 12, 2014. Please tell us about it by using no more than 140 characters. 

Greg Pizzoli: It's the first book I've illustrated for someone else's story, and it's a little bit scary, but not at all gory. Also it doesn't rhyme.

Greg is participating in the next #SharpSchu Book Club meeting

Please complete these sentence starters: 

Picture books are a form of art that intersects poetry, theatre, painting, printmaking, drawing, rhythm, design, story-telling, performance, into a one-of-a-kind experience.

Reading is the best.

I am giving away one copy of Number One Sam

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from May 7 to 11:59 p.m. on May 9. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Number One Sam will be released on May 13. 


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