April 05


Nerdy Reader, I Believe in Picture Books by Will Hillenbrand

Again, I am reminded
that as a child, I often played on my own.
In the dirt of the side yard, I built roads for my cars and trucks.
Sometimes, friends came over and played, which was nice.
When it rained I went inside.
I would make pictures.
Then, I picked up a book…
and found my Grandmother’s lap.
She read aloud while I fell into a rabbit hole…
with Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.
After the chamomile tea I said, “Again.”
And “again” and “again” and “again.”
I believe in Picture Books
because I experienced them.
I believe in Picture Books
because big people loved me enough to make reading come alive,
and to guide me into enchantment with their unique voices.
I wanted to feel the warmth of their love,
and for a time, to be the only person in the world to them.
Yet, hidden inside of me I wanted more . . .
I wanted magic . . .
My hungry imagination was crying out for it.
MAGIC, real magic, that is what I wanted.
There, in the theater of the lap, I found it,
or maybe it found me.
My grandmother opened the book’s cover and read.
Together, we journeyed from a sand-bank
underneath the root of a very big fir-tree . . .
to where the wild things are and more, much more.
Today in my small studio, I make pictures for books
for the child in me and for my readers.
Still, sometimes I wonder. . . where would I be . . .
without the rich world given to me in the theater of the lap.
Untarnished, what was given to me there, I still have today.
I hope to put magic into what I make.
I hope you feel magic when you read I’M A DUCK.
Invite someone you love into the theater of your lap.
Use your unique voice to transport them to a pond…
a pond seen on the page and experienced in the mind and heart.
Remember, these images are simply marks on a page…
mark after mark that shape the setting and cast of characters.
Yes, I believe it is magic,
the only “real magic” in our world.
The magic of the human touch.
Trust that your reading will inspire. . .
inspire a memory that can last a lifetime and more.
Then, read it again and again and again.
I believe in Picture Books
because the best, best ending is “again.”
Will Hillenbrand has written and illustrated many books, including Bear in Love and Bear and Bunny, both written by Daniel Pinkwater. Will Hillenbrand lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find him online at http://www.willhillenbrand.com.