Thursday, April 15, 2010

Take Two! Claire Saxby talks about There Was an Old Sailor...


Today Claire Saxby takes the hot seat to answer two curious questions about her new picture book, "There Was An Old Sailor", illustrated by Cassandra Allen, and published by Walker Books.


Q.1. A fish diet is meant to be rather good for the figure, but the old sailor on your cover is a brawny sailor indeed. Does this mean fish is NOT slimming, or does he sometimes sneak a bag of chips?

A.1. It's all about quantity isn't it? I mean a fish diet is one thing, but who would want to look like a fish...unless of course you're a mermaid and we all know about mermaids! My sailor never quite knows when his next meal is coming and he likes to eat like he lives - LARGE. He stores away energy against the lean times. Although, he will confess, that times have been good of late. Long may they continue.

Q. 2. Is the text of "There Was an Old Sailor" designed to be spoken or half sung, as in the original "Old Woman" rhyme? And how did you come up with a sailor as the protagonist?

A.2. It is a spoken text, but it is quite difficult to keep the song out of it. I like to think of it as being like a hot air balloon. Solid and structurally sound on the ground, but capable of lifting off and carrying all with it. I have never shared it with a group where at least some of the listeners weren't joining in by about the middle of the story. That's something that doesn't happen with prose stories, generally.

Sailor as protagonist. Well, it was a gift really. When a casual throwaway remark bemoaned the lack of ocean-themed, cumulative rhymes for young children, the sailor just stood up and bellowed 'Pick me! Pick me!' How could I refuse?

To find out more about Claire, her writing, and her new book, check out her website at http://www.clairesaxby.com/

5 comments:

Dee White said...

Thanks Sally, Claire and Old Sailor for this valuable insight. I hadn't realised that even too much fish can be too much of a good thing.

Dee:-)

Angela Sunde. said...

Thanks Sally and Claire, I never realised Old Sailor was such a 'well-rounded' personality. Lovely post.

Sally_Odgers said...

Thanks, ladies. The Old Sailor clearly has a whale of a time dining out on seafood platters. Pure brawny muscle from eating mussels, aye.

Catupover said...

and singing is especially good if done by the dishy pirate at your launch!

雁卉 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................