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Interview with legendary board book author/illustrator Sandra Boynton

Legendary board book author/illustrator Sandra Boynton
Legendary board book author/illustrator Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton is a songwriter, director, music producer, children's author and illustrator. She has written and illustrated more than fifty books for both children and adults, over four thousand greeting cards, and five music albums. Damn!

Per Wikipedia, “Boynton's greeting card designs for Recycled Paper Greetings were at the forefront of the Alternative Cards commercial movement that began in the mid-1970s. According to RPG co-founder and president Mike Keiser, nearly 500 million copies of Boynton's distinctive humorous cards—featuring an assortment of unnamed cartoon animal characters, spare layout, and droll messages—sold between 1973 and 2003. The best known of these is a 1975 birthday card bearing images of four animals and the message "Hippo Birdie Two Ewes", a pun playing on the phrase "Happy Birthday to You". The card has sold over ten million copies to date.” Double dog damn!

I first fell in love with Sandra’s greeting card artwork and humor. Then, when I had kids, I soon became a fan of Sandra’s board books. “The Going to Bed Book” is the best board book ever written. It’s a scientific fact. And scientific facts are the best kind of facts.

Apparently, writing and illustrating children’s books doesn’t keep her busy enough, so Sandra also writes and illustrates songbooks. This is a good thing, as the world has long needed a frog-centric music album.

Dare I ask, what is FROG TROUBLE?

FROG TROUBLE is my first Country music album, sung by some very cool Country stars and a few beyond-Country stars. And I’ve also made an illustrated songbook to go with it. It turns out that my characters look surprisingly comfortable in cowboy hats.

Henry: No surprise there. Frogs’ fashion sense is well-known. It’s a scientific fact. Her cats also look good in hats.

For what ages is FROG TROUBLE intended?

Truly all ages. The cover says “For Ages One to Older Than Dirt.”

Henry: That seems unnecessarily disparaging to dirt. Then again, there’s also “dumb as a rock”.

Why did you decide to go Country for this album?

I guess sometimes a person just needs a little more twang in her life.

Henry: That makes me happier than a tornado in a trailer park, I tell you what!

Country is a broad musical genre. What can we expect from FROG TROUBLE?

The songs are quite varied, but overall there’s a definite retro sound and look to the whole project. That’s probably because my own deepest connection to Country is really through my ’50s childhood. I grew up in Philadelphia, which isn’t exactly considered traditional Country territory. But back then, pretty much any American kid was surrounded by cowboy TV shows and Country-driven jukebox music. So that’s the sound that most captivates me.

Read the full interview at Henry’s blog on KidLit, science fiction, and fantasy.