extract from a Guardian Q&A with Jon Scieszka
Which of your books are you most proud of and why?
I kind of love Stinky Cheese Man most for including nods to so many of my favorite writers – Cervantes, Kafka, Borges, Pynchon, Sterne, Barth, Heller. But I think love Battle Bunny most for its transgressive anarchy (see Answer #1). And I am crazy about my latest Frank Einstein.
Can you tell us something about your new Frank Einstein series?
Frank is a 10-year-old genius who invents the coolest things. With the help of Frank’s robots Klink and Klank, I am attempting to explain all of Science in six books. With illustrations and real science diagrams. There is also an evil kid genius T Edison. And T Edison’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr Chimp. Who is an actual chimpanzee, escaped from a product-testing laboratory, and taught himself sign language. And QuickBooks accounting software.
What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever made up or told?
Q: What is brown and sticky?
A: A brown stick.
Zoe Toft, on the Playing by the Book blog:
This time of year the colour supplements and review sections of newspapers always feature articles I enjoy, with authors recommending their favourite reads of the past year. But these articles rarely feature authors and illustrators whose work is enjoyed by the 0-teens. Whilst the Children’s Laureate or a media-genic YA/Crossover author might be included, the fact that children’s books make up almost 25% of booksales (in the UK) is definitely not proportionally reflected in these round-up articles. So this year I decided to do something about that, and produce the sort of article I’d like to read in the review section: Favourite reads of 2013 as chosen by (children’s) authors and illustrators.
Cynthia Voigt’s Favourite Children’s Books
All I wanted to do was read, to be told stories. Stories were full of excitement and emotions and characters that entertained and often inspired. Stories made sense. I read any stories that came my way, in any form–Sunday School mimeo sheeted Bible stories, folk and fairy tales, myths, Mrs. Piggy-Winkle, Brenda Starr and Mary Worth, Honey Bunch Morton–but never newspapers and magazines. Those weren’t stories and, being real, were often scary, and things were scary enough for me already.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how sparse was my supply of books, especially books for grade school readers, who could only wait to be old enough to be allowed to borrow books (vetted by mother and librarian, of course) chosen from the adult shelves. When, in the late 60s, I found myself the English teacher of second and fifth grade classes, I needed to return to the reading of books for children. Those were the days when English meant reading and writing and grammar and an introduction to the accumulated and varied cultural heritage of a citizen of the Western World, and I wanted to be more familiar than I was with what books were available to my students. So I went to the library and found there–to my amazement and delight–shelf after shelf filled with stories for kids, many of them excellently well done.