I had a fan girl moment this week when I attended the launch of This and That, the latest creative offering by children's literary team, Mem Fox and Judy Horacek. For those who don't know them by name, they are the sinister duo that cause otherwise loving parents to hide books such as Where is the Green Sheep? and Goodnight Sleep tight on account of their constant rotation at bed times. By the way, having parents say to you, 'We have taken to hiding your books because we have read it so many times', is not an insult, it makes us kid's authors very happy.
Apart from getting a sneak preview of their latest book, I got to learn some fun facts about this dynamic duo so I thought I would share some with you to get an insight into how they work.
- Mem and Judy first worked together on a parent guide called Reading Magic, which helps families understand how to promote early childhood literacy.
- Mem Fox has two work spaces, one for handwritten drafting and one for her desktop writing......I wish!
- 4B pencils are Mem's pencils of choice for her handwritten drafts.
- One of Mem's favourite colours is Green (no surprise there).
- Judy hates Green....what!
- Judy uses ice cube trays as paint palettes, they are less expensive than all those artsy fartsy supplies.
- While writing, Mem has 3 children in mind. The young baby in their parent's arms listening to a story, a child at bedtime sharing a book with a carer and young school students on a mat listening to their teacher. This helps her focus on whether the content of her books will keep the attention of her target audience.
- Mem's books are all 32 pages long. When she has drafted her text, she writes the last page and works forward to help her with editing.
- Mem believes that children being exposed to rhyme and rhythm from an early age builds the foundation for them being able to read.
- During book development Mem sends Judy LOTS and LOTS of emails (I think my illustrator Kathryn can relate to that)!