It’s an absolutely perfect day for... written and illustrated by Catherine G. McElroy (pen-name Queenie Mac), is a fun book of the alphabet of tongue-twisting alliterations and fantastic illustrations that seem to come alive, for preschoolers ages 2 to 5. I had the privilege of interviewing Catherine McElroy; here’s what she had to say about her book and her work as a watercolor artist:
1) Is It’s an absolutely perfect day for… your first children’s book?
Yes, this is the first I’ve published. I do have a couple of others that I have completed and they may make it out with a little re-working, or maybe not.
2) This book is not your typical alphabet book, what made you choose to write your book in the way you did?
Well, I am a watercolor artist who wanted to create a book but don’t consider myself a writer. So I didn’t really plan any of it. Page by page, it just developed over coffee in the morning with my husband.
It started with bubbles. Bubbles are these magical floating orbs of happiness and color. When people (of all ages) see them they pause, watch, wonder and smile as they float by and then disappear. To me they represent pure happiness because it is impossible to blow a bubble when you are angry. Just try it!
Anyway…it started with bubbles and I wanted them to flow through the book which didn’t have a storyline but would somehow be inspirational and/or educational. Then it came to me, the alphabet. Using the bubbles flowing from page to page brings continuity to the different subjects and variety of unrelated characters in humorous situations. Using animals (common & uncommon) in amusing scenarios introduces children to possibilities they probably won’t encounter, like “a dainty dancing donkey dressed in dots, defiantly denting Dodo‘s drab dream machine” or “large llamas licking Lemur‘s luscious lemon, lime and licorice lollipop” but, you never know nowadays what we may run into!
3) My 4 year old had fun reading your book. Were you ever worried that using such big adjectives would be too much for kids to handle?
My intention in using the vocabulary I did was to entertain and amuse adults while reading repetitiously to young children. By using “big adjectives” it expands the age appropriateness of this book allowing older children who already know the alphabet to benefit from the mature vocabulary and introduction to alliteration.
Speech therapists have told me that using alliteration helps develop speech and pronunciation with repetitious sounding out of words and letters.
And yes, I did read the dictionary.
4) What’s your best advice to first time children’s book authors?
My advice, besides to enjoy your project, is to research and commit to a format before you begin. If considering self publishing, which I did, the format became a major issue for us.
5) What’s next? Will there be a book for numbers or phonics?
What’s next? Endless possibilities. I am a very prolific watercolor artist, I paint constantly and subject matter keeps flowing through me like a river without dams. Another book may be in the future, but in the meantime I’m enjoying painting whimsical watercolors which are available on my website www.catherinemcelroy.com or you may find me at Artisan Fairs throughout Northern California and Oregon.
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