What a treat it is to host a fellow dog-lover! I think I may have met Wendy Wahman through her delightful, Don’t Lick the Dog, before I actually met her, but I knew from that book that we would be kindred spirits. I am so pleased to host her today in celebration of her newest picture book, Nanny Paws (Two Lions). It is an example of her generous spirit that she has kindly offered to give away a copy of Nanny Paws to my Friend Friday readers. To enter, click this Rafflecopter link and away you go!
Hello dear Kirby!
Thank you for inviting me to share a bit about Nanny Paws on Friend Friday. It’s an honor to be included here.
Nanny Paws was inspired by my little white standard poodle LaRoo, and the kids next door. For a while, LaRoo and I got them up and off to elementary school in the morning. One day somebody called her “Nanny LaRoo,” and the story took off from there. Unlike her fictional character, LaRoo is super laid back and easy to live with! Like Nanny Paws, LaRoo adores children.
Art style: It was agreed by all,* this book needed a softer feel, so I went back to drawing on the board (I used to do most all my art in watercolor, Prismacolor pencils, rapidographs, or brush pens). Art director, Merideth Mulroney and editor Kelsey Skea, preferred my pencil versions to the ink, and so did I. Pencil it would be. But which pencil? And what kind of paper? After experimenting with dozens of different pencils, I came full circle, back to good old No. 2 pencil on bond layout paper. I did watercolor washes, and painted paw prints and the twin’s cheeks, then scanned them in to collage behind the line art. I used textures I found for clothes and backgrounds. Nanny Paws fur is a colorized victorian wallpaper.
Naming the twins: Ally and May, are a bow of appreciation to my incredible editor at Two Lions, Kelsey Shea. Her daughter is named Ailee Mae. It’s fun when that works out. In Don’t Lick the Dog, (Henry Holt BFYR, 2009) the little white dog-that-might-bite, Maddy, was named in honor of my wonderful editor, Laura Godwin’s, also little white dog-that-might-bite, Addy.
Backstory: Ally is more reserved than Mae. When they first got Nanny Paws, Ally was a little afraid of her. Mae thinks everything Nanny Paws does is hilarious, and is always ready for a game of tug – especially if it’s Ally’s sock their using. All the twins socks are totally stretched out. You’ll see the twin’s different reactions , and how Mae is almost always physically closer to Nanny Paws.
Now-a-days: I’m working on some new stories, doing a little freelance illustration and graphics, school presentations, and occasionally speaking at conferences and retreats. I’m also working on a memoir/confessional about my jaw-droppingly bizarre year in the seventh grade.
*Agent, editor, art director and me.
Former Seattle P-I newspaper artist, Wendy Wahman now writes and illustrates children’s books. Her debut picture book, “Don’t Lick the Dog,” was selected as a 2010 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, starred for Outstanding Merit and accepted to the Society of Illustrators Original Art show. Other books include “A Cat Like That,” “Snowboy 1,2,3,” “Rabbit Stew,” (a vegetarian thriller), “Pony in the City,” and “Nanny Paws.” Wendy’s editorial illustrations have appeared in major publications including Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and the Harvard Business Journal. She lives in Tacoma with her husband, writer Joe Wahman, and their mostly well behaved standard poodles. You can learn more about her on her website and Behance Portfolio.
NANNY PAWS REVIEWS:
“Move over, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Good Dog, Carl: Nanny Paws knows exactly what to do for the kids in her care! … In every instance, this pampered pooch has a hilariously overinflated sense of her helpfulness, … Wahman’s watercolor, pencil, and digitally created images effectively capture Nanny Paws’ perpetual motion and the twins’ adoration of her despite the chaos she leaves in her wake… A delightful tale for dog lovers with less-than-perfect pooches.” – Kirkus
“The energetic poodle is constantly moving, and readers can follow her trail of gnawed socks as she concludes the day’s supervision with reading, bath time, and the final nighttime snuggle. Colorful illustrations done digitally and with active detailed pencil and watercolor demonstrate the lively personalities of the characters. The Darling children’s Nana is a calm and placid nursemaid compared to this exuberant, charming pooch.” — Booklist
“The juxtaposition of the story line with the silly, inviting illustrations makes for a romping tale that amusingly illustrates home life with a good-hearted, but less-than-perfectly behaved dog. An engaging picture book that will work well for storytime and one-on-one sharing. Children familiar with havoc-wreaking pooches will appreciate this playful tale most.” — School Library Journal
Wendy’s shops: https://www.wendywahman.com/links-to-outer-space-1
Wendy’s books on Indiebound: