FOX NEWS: Clyde Watson Interview! with special appearance by Aldren Watson

 Wow! Can you believe this?
I’ve got an interview with Clyde Watson, author of the spectacular Rhymes in Father Fox’s Penny Rhymes and many other books. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Father Fox and Mother Goose squared off at a poetry slam, Mother Goose would be laughed off the stage.
But to make this even more incredible, Clyde Watson got her father Aldren Watson to answer my questions about the IMMORTAL “Where Everyday Things Come From.” Children’s non-fiction just doesn’t get any better than this book.
So here we go with the interview from March, 2008:
What can you tell us about the way your father worked? Especially on Where Everyday Things Come From. Did he
visit factories? Use taxidermy specimens? This is one of my all-time favorite books, so any little bit of information will intrigue me!
CLYDE:  I asked him if he had any comments on Where Everyday Things Come From–he answered that he did not visit factories or anything, at most looked things up in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, which lined one of our walls growing up. He had gotten the complete set as a bonus fee for a painting he did for the publisher, and it was heavily used by all 8 of us growing up.
As for how he worked at that time–his studio had a long wall of bulletin board on which he tacked up all sorts of ideas, sketches, notes–it was a most interesting place to wander around and read or look at his postings.  Being a cabinet maker and a person who could make or fix just about anything, I think illustrating Where Everyday Things Come From was a natural and engaging project for him, one that didn’t require that he do loads of research. He said he really wanted to portray the different processes for a child’s view and understanding.
Another all-time favorite book is Father Fox’s Penny Rhymes. What a combination of word and picture! What’s the alchemy like when you and your sister Wendy work on a Father Fox book? Often the pictures expand a lot
on the text or help clarify its meaning. Do you tell her what you’re thinking of? Do you suggest the speech balloons?
As I wrote, I always did so with her illustrations in mind. Thus I was able to picture the ‘scene’ done by her pen. We did go back and forth a great deal with ideas of what could be included in pictures or in the ‘word balloons’. Some of the ballooons (like the Little Martha poem) were poems to begin with, and we decided to put them in a balloon. Other balloons are just whimsical nonsense taking off in some way from the text or illustrations. It was a tremendous lot of fun doing that book.
What is the relationship between foxes and pigs in Father Fox’s world?
In one of my favorite rhymes, “the pigs are out” and look like they’re up to no good. Where did they escape
from, why are they so mad? Another blogger recently wrote about the page where foxes are eyeing a jump-roping pig on the playground. Just a joke, right?
I’m afraid I can’t shed as much light as you would probably like on the Pig/Fox relationship. I believe the idea is, that the Hogs are the rowdy lot who lived on the outskirts of the village, and that when they go out (as opposed to ‘get out’) they’re likely to go on somewhat of a rampage,  help themselves to things, act loud and generally liven things up considerably.
Alright, folks! Readers, head for the library. Librarians, order the books. Publishers, put “Where Everday Things Come From” back in print! Let’s move, people!
Click here to see more of my Watson Family posts:

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