Boom Boom Arrives

Boom Boom by Sarvinder Naberhaus

Some of you may remember me working on a book titled BOOM BOOM (by Sarvinder Naberhaus) from some of my earlier posts here and here. I finished the illustrations in June, 2013. The book came out on October 7 of this year. That’s roughly 15 months of waiting. Long enough for me to almost forget about it. But not quite.

I received my artists’ copies last week. Opening a book that I’ve illustrated for the first time is like revisiting an old friend in a new house. I feel excitement, as well as a bit of trepidation. The art can no longer stand alone; it must work as part of a BOOK. Will it all come together? Will readers enjoy the pictures? Did I miss something when I sent it off to press, that now will be painfully obvious?

Most important: Do the images speak the way I intended them to? The biggest challenge of this particular book was that there is no story, no characters, no narrative arc to follow. Naberhaus’s text consists of sixteen words, each repeated twice. The only thread which links them together is how the couplets progress through the seasons:

Boom
Boom

Flash
Flash

Drip
Drip

Splash
Splash

This isn’t the first time I have created a visual story to accompany a non-narrative text. I did the same with Light Up The Night, among others. While having a story to follow can simplify the process of illustrating a book, my aim is always to augment a story through the illustrations, so my approach with BOOM BOOM just meant taking that idea to it’s full extent.

So what story did I want to tell? It needed to be a story that I felt an emotional connection to in order for the images to tell a compelling tale. When I thought about the stories that I have written thus far, I saw a common theme between them: Friendship. Finding, making, losing, keeping friends . . . these were the most valuable lessons I learned growing up. Who doesn’t remember those experiences which teach us about how we may, or may not, fit in?

BoomBoom6-7 Chodos-Irvine WS

So I had sixteen words and thirty-two pages to get my story told. The text opens with the onomatopoeic first few lines suggesting a potentially frightening storm. I saw a shy little boy terrified by the loud thunder and flashing lightening, and a more outgoing, slightly bigger little girl enjoying the excitement, yet feeling concern over her preschool-mate. After the storm passes, she brings him out to share in the fun of splashing in puddles.

BoomBoom10-11 Chodos-Irvine WS

But the best friendships travel on two-way streets, so in the following sequence, the boy is the one to comfort the girl.

Bloom
Bloom

Buzz
Buzz

Blow
Blow

Fuzz
Fuzz

Boom Boom pg 14 Chodos-Irvine

BoomBoom15 Chodos-Irvine WS

The seasons progress to Winter, and through their friendship, they enrich their larger community and establish their place within the group.

Crinkle
Crinkle

Crunch
Crunch

Fall
Fall

Bunch
Bunch

BoomBoom20-21 Chodos-Irvine WS

BoomBoom22-23 Chodos-Irvine WS

It sounds better in pictures.

Swirl
Swirl

Blow
Blow

Silent
Silent

Snow
Snow

BoomBoom 24-25 Chodos-Irvine WS

Boom Boom pg 26-27 Chodos-Irvine

BoomBoom32 Chodos-Irvine WS

I enjoyed the freedom that the sparse text gave me to explore my own visuals, and I think it came together well. If you have the time, go check it out at your local bookstore or library and see what you think.

And if I do see anything that I missed before, well, I’m not telling!

7 responses to “Boom Boom Arrives

  1. Those winter pictures are super magical! Makes me excited about potential snow. Congratulations!

  2. Thoroughly delightful! Looking forward to turning the pages.

  3. I love this!! Especially your illustrations from the perspectives of looking up and looking down on the children. Kudos!

  4. my kids love this !!! i’m an editor of pictures books for kids too.
    http://www.pictures-books-for-childrens.com

  5. It looks lovely, Margaret. Fascinating to hear how you created a narrative from the text.

  6. This looks just great! I love the variety in your compositions and also the variety of gesture and expression in the kids. Its really engaging!

  7. I will buy a copy soon for Dante’s collection of Margaret books-and for you to sign when you return.

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