Today we’re welcoming #debut author Amy Baron to the blog
with her picture book, THE GENTLE BULLDOZER.
(Illus. Rogério Coelho, YeeHoo Press)
Because a new picture book out in the world by a new #kidlit author
deserves a celebration–right?
Inspiration and Revision…
Q 1. What was the inspiration for THE GENTLE BULLDOZER?
Amy Baron: My toddler son built a tower with magnetic tiles, only to take a running leap and knock it over. He did this a few times, sometimes using his toy construction trucks to knock down the towers. I suggested we build the “tallest tower ever.” As our tower grew higher, we had to place the tiles ever-so-gently. It got me thinking about a gentle construction truck that didn’t like destroying things.
Q 2. How is being a debut children’s author (Congratulations!) like being an optometrist? Any revision comparisons?
Amy Baron: Thanks, Erin! Fun question—had to think about this!
Some glasses and contacts prescriptions are simple and straightforward, while others require a bit more time and revision—take for example a progressive contact lens prescription (the type of contacts that have different prescriptions for near and distance work.) For this prescription, you’ll want a patient to sample a few different lenses at home before having them back to determine the final fit. This is similar to writing in that some of the sentences and plot points come easily, while others take time and revision.
As a debut author, I looked to the wonderful team at Yeehoo Press to help me guide me through the revision process. For example, my editor Zhiqiao said perhaps it was unrealistic to have Bulldozer lift his blade off the ground as he does in one scene in the book. Young children are quite keen on construction vehicles and may notice this is factually incorrect. Front loaders lift in this fashion, not bulldozers. However, we both agreed that a book title like “The Gentle Front Loader” lacks the contrast of “Gentle” paired with “Bulldozer.”
Amy Baron: Ultimately, Zhiqiao discovered there is a technologically advanced type of bulldozer with an “angle and tilt” blade that can be lifted off the ground. We decided that Bulldozer would keep his blade down for the majority of the book and it was okay to exaggerate a little on a few pages and show his blade high in the air. I guess this plot point was the “progressive contact lens fit” of my story!
Surprises and Takeaways
Q 3. What surprises did illustrator Rogério Coelho bring to this project?
Amy Baron: So many! I adore the way Rogerio brought a bulldozer to life with a mouth, eyes, tongue, and facial expressions. As I read the book alongside his illustrations, I’m convinced that bulldozers really do have feelings! Seeing the first illustration was one of the highlights of the publication process for me.
Q 4. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Amy Baron: The Gentle Bulldozer is a story about being yourself. Don’t worry so much about what others expect of you. You’re wonderful just as you are!
Q 5. Are there any new projects in the works that you can share?
Amy Baron: I’m writing a middle-grade thriller called FEROCIOUS. I just finished the first draft and I’m looking forward to polishing it!
Ha–from Gentle to FEROCIOUS…
I can’t wait to read this, Amy!
To learn more about Amy Baron and her work,
visit her website: www.amybaronbooks.com
and follow her on Twitter: @amygbaron.