We loved Derek Anderson's amazing illustrations in Hot Rod Hamster, and were thrilled to received Scholastic's sponsored book for October - Story County - both written and illustrated by Derek Anderson.
Farmer, Dog, Pig, Chicken and Miss Cow set out to make a farm in this great story about friendship, teamwork and a few funny interpretations of 'farm life' (like jellybean crops!).
Derek Anderson's colourful illustrations bring this fun story to life as the farm friends work together to build a farm, a field, a scarecrow, haystacks... and of course, a sky!
A great story for fall and to introduce children to different elements of a farm, in a fun and playful way! Illustrations are bright and engaging, and it's a perfect length for a playgroup or bedtime story.
momstown got an exclusive Q&A with author/illustrator Derek Anderson! Here are the highlights:
MT: My kids loved the little silly details like "instant farm field" and planting jelly beans. What inspired these 'magical' elements in the story?
DA: I'm so glad to hear your kids are enjoying those silly details! One of the things I love most about making books is taking ordinary things and putting imaginative twists on them. What if you really could grow whatever you wanted in a farm field... what would you grow? It was fun to explore the world of farming because my grandfather was a farmer and I spent a lot of time on his farm when I was growing up.
MT: The kids also loved the scarecrow - she looks at lot different than traditional ones - was there a particular inspiration for making the scarecrow more like a princess?
DA: When I make books, I try to create characters and then let them tell me what they want to do. They really do come to life in many ways and it's fun to see their personalities develop. Miss Cow definitely knows what she likes and doesn't like. The second I met Miss Cow and saw her fancy high heels, I knew she wouldn't behave like an ordinary cow. When I asked her what kind of scarecrow she wanted to make, she let me know. It was very easy- there was only one sketch for that page in the book.
MT: We noticed that the chicken carries around her eggs throughout the story - and my boys wanted to know, are these eggs to eat or eggs that will hatch?
DA: They're definitely eggs that will hatch! Maybe in another story? I don't know exactly who's inside those eggs yet, but I can't wait to find out!
MT: My 4 year old wanted to know why the cow is wearing high heels!
DA: Another great question! Story County is not an ordinary farm, anything can happen there- cows can wear high heels, pigs can use mud to make whatever they want, you can grow anything in the fields, and you can even paint the sky! Oh, and in case you didn't know-- Story County isn't made up, it's real. It's right in the middle of Iowa and it's where I grew up. You can read more fun facts about Story County on my website!
Thanks to Derek for his insight into the wonderful world of Story County! We hope your little readers at home will enjoy a peek into the illustrator's mind!