There's a new picture book about to hit the shelves and I've been waiting for this day for about 5 years. No joke.
I have two boys. They love trains and dinosaurs. We started with All Aboard the Dinotrain a couple of years ago. This was the perfect book. At the end of a very adventurous train ride, the dinosaurs almost immediately ponder flying a plane for their next adventure. So...these fearless dinosaurs are finally taking their adventures to the sky in DINOSOARING, which will be released on June 19th.
I was so excited, but even more exciting is that I had a chance to speak with Deb Lund about the dinoadventures she's created in this trilogy and how they came to be that way. I think I'm hooked in dinoland!
Me: What inspired you to write about dinosaurs and their adventures?
Deb: I sailed with the Shifty Sailors, a maritime singing group, from Seattle to Olympia WA. We took the train on the way home. I always say writing is part imagination and part memory. That’s about the only memory that came from that trip, other than getting very dizzy from the sailing. I’m grateful I didn’t get as sick as my dinos!
I knew these adventurers had to be dinos, because kids love them. When I was an elementary librarian, kids would check out stacks of dinosaur books, and I’ll never forget one first grader who came to the library every day to check out new ones. He said, “I have to take these home because my family doesn’t know anything about dinosaurs.”
Sounds like a very smart first grader and I love that you were a librarian!
Me: As someone who has tried writing in rhyme, it’s quite difficult (at least for me). How do you do it? Do the words and meter just flow or is it a long editing process?
Deb: I do often hear the rhyme with the correct meter already in place, but it’s always a long editing process, no matter how quickly the original lines come to me. Each dinobook could probably rival Shakespeare’s longest sonnets in length if the finished books contained all the stanzas that got cut. I can be neurotic about rhyme and meter, and I don’t settle for “close” with either.
My biggest suggestion is to read each line aloud separately as if you were saying it in natural conversation. Then ask yourself these questions. Where do the stressed syllables really fall? Are you including any words just because they rhyme? Are they "real" rhymes? (Ground does not rhyme with Down.) Does each line further the story?
Excellent advice. I might have to try it again.
Me: What future adventures do you see for these very active and fun dinosaurs?
Deb: The next dinobook will come out from Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and I’ll just give you a hint, since that’s what I usually do at the end of the dinobooks (but not in DINOSOARING!). There will be sirens (you’ll have to make your own noise) and red!
I get suggestions for dinobooks from kids at school author visits, and they’re always fun, especially the illustrated ones. I do hope to eventually see these gargantuan goofballs take off in a rocket!
That would be really cool! My 4 year old's class built a cardboard rocket ship
and had many, many adventures!
Me: Your earlier book, Monsters on Machines, received excellent reviews on Goodreads. Do you foresee more stories about Monsters? As the mother of two boys, we love monsters as much as we love dinosaurs!
Deb: Gory Gorbert, Stinky Stuff, Dirty Dugg, and Melvina say thanks for this question! They get a little perturbed at all the dinothis and dinothat. “After all,” says Melvina. “We’re the ones who got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly!” She gets a little miffed from time to time, but when PW says MONSTERS ON MACHINES “…has just about everything a child could hope for…” I guess you can’t blame her. They say thanks for making their day!
So glad I made their day!
Thanks Deb for your time, thoughts, words of advice, and keeping the adventures going!
And now, for the really fun extra special part! Deb has agreed to personalize and sign a copy of DINOSAILORS and All Aboard the Dinotrain for two lucky winners! YAY!
Here's how it will work. I'll randomly choose two people from all the commenters, with one entry per commenter. Deadline will be midnight Sunday, June 17, EDT.