A Q&A with Deborah Diesen:
Author of The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish
Macmillan Children's, September 2015
Hey Deborah! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about the Pout-Pout Fish series today!
Q: How did you come up with the original Pout-Pout fish book in 2008?
Q: Since the first book, we’ve seen Mr. Fish go to school, learn to smile, face the dark, discover how to dream and play hide-and-seek. What do kids (and their parents) love most about the series?
Q: What do you hope young readers (ages 3-6) will learn from The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish? Is there a message here for grown-ups as well
Q: How do you and the illustrator, Dan Hanna, work together on the books? (Are there any special stories about the illustrations on Not-Very-Merry that you can share?)
Dan moves through the art creation process, from sketches to finished product, working with our editor and with the art director. I do see some of the steps along the way, but during the illustration process the author’s most important task is to stay out of the way! And that’s for the best, because it allows the artist to bring the story to life in the way only an artist can.
Dan brings a thousand times more to the illustrations than I could ever begin to imagine – the characters and their expressions; the settings and their details; and all the funny and quirky extras. For instance, in The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, one of the spreads shows a store full of what I describe in the text as shiny trinkets and handy gadgets. Dan took that description and brought it alive by imagining, drawing, and labeling shelf after shelf in the gift shop with hilarious and unique sea gifts. His creativity is amazing. I feel very grateful and happy to get to make books with Dan!
Q: Any future plans for Mr. Fish? What adventures can we expect to see him in next?
Another mini-adventure, called Trick or Treat, Pout-Pout Fish, will arrive later in 2016. And in 2017, Mr. Fish will be in a new full-length hardcover called The Pout-Pout Fish, Far, Far From Home. He stays pretty busy these days! But he’s enjoying all of his adventures. As am I!