Throwing Stories off the Cliff by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller
Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever is the first book I wrote where I knew who the illustrator was going to be. I usually don’t imagine what the illustrations are going to look like while I’m writing, but this time I did. And I usually don’t include art notes, but I had fun writing notes to illustrator Tim Miller in the margin (“Tim! Draw a conga line of bugs!”).
The other thing I did was write scenarios I knew Tim would have fun drawing. Anyone who has read our first book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) knows that Tim does an amazing job with fun little details. I love the jungle, the grocery store, and the party scene (that hippo! those mice!). When I was working on the sequel, I couldn’t help adding in a library, a big store, and a lot of very silly situations that I knew Tim would like. I bet when you’re reading it you’ll be able to guess which ones I put in to make Tim laugh.
It’s a funny thing, making a picture book, if you only write the words. You do your part and shove it off a cliff, and then you wait to see what happens, and you hope a lot.
You hope the person who holds up half of your book will understand what you’re trying to do with it. You hope the illustrations will make the book whole. You hope you won’t have to sigh and say, “Isn’t it great?” through gritted teeth.
I certainly got all I hoped for and then some with Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), but I didn’t know when I threw the book off the cliff that I’d also make a friend. So when I finished the second book, I didn’t toss it off a cliff, but happily sent it Tim’s way, knowing in advance that whatever he does with it will be amazing. (True story: once I sent Tim a package of homemade brownies via overnight mail. They took six weeks to get to him. And when he finally got them, he still ate them. And lived. That speaks of true devotion.) (True devotion to me or to brownies, I’m not sure.)
So, in the spirit of finding bookmaking friends (and food), I give you the cover of Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably).
Julie Falatko writes from her home in Maine, where there are plenty of picturesque rocky cliffs from which to toss manuscripts. She is the author of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), illustrated by Tim Miller (Viking, 2016); the upcoming Snappsy the Alligator and his Best Friend Forever (Probably) (Viking, 2017); The Society of Underrepresented Animals, illustrated by Charles Santoso (Viking, 2018); The Great Indoors, illustrated by Ruth Chan (Disney-Hyperion, 2019) and Help Wanted: One Rooster (Viking, 2019). You can find her on Twitter @JulieFalatko or at her website http://juliefalatko.com.
Tim Miller is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He is the illustrator of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) and Margarash; He is also the illustrator of the middle-grade series Hamstersaurus Rex. Tim’s debut picture book as author & illustrator, Moo Moo in a Tutu, will be published by Balzer & Bray in April 2017. He is currently based in NYC and can be found on Twitter @TM_Illustration or at his website https://www.timmillerillustration.com/.