We would love to be the folk that introduce you to the adorable and innovative team of Jeff and George… Jeff is a passionate young rugby fan and George is his best friend, a tiny little springbok enthusiast of the mascot variety. Together they are the most inventive and inspired little local gang that we have met in a long time. Jeff and George are the creation of author Emily Child and illustrator Julia Anastasopoulos. And yes this post is a GiveAway…
Meet the Book
Jeff and George appear in their just launched, debut adventure: Jeff and George and the Totem Pole, published by Penguin Books, South Africa. These avid rugby fans live in a small apartment in the heart of the city of Cape Town. It has been raining for days, Table Mountain has vanished behind the clouds. They have sorted the refrigerator three times… they have made mini-potato artworks, washed the dishes… These are two terribly busy chaps. They decide to head out, but they need to be prepared: With a roll of black bin bags and another roll of tape, they set out to invent a head to toe raincoat. Black bags and tape everywhere, they are delightfully inventive and you can tell that this author illustrator team have been around the “kids block” a fair bit: Tape, tape, tape… little bits of tape everywhere… turns out their project was a little ambitious, but they do get an amazing working solution, but I don’t want to overshare, just to say there are a lot of black bags, masses of tape and heaps of little edifying labels to ensure the readers understand every nuance of their invention. And just as they head outdoors… in typical Cape Town style. The sun comes out… They were so elated that they pronked with joy.
This is a book written and illustrated by folk who are young at heart and who have slid into the world of children to bring them the story… it is truly charming. The book is packed full of little South African colloquisms. I think it is so great for kids to see things that are familiar to them and their own culture in a book, and you can’t get much more local than Table Mountain and rugby. The illustrations are just perfect for the story… packed with little details and lots to look at, not to mention word bubbles and little labels – just like professional inventors (!), all over the place. In a word: delightful. And we are hoping for many more Jeff and George adventures down the line.
Meet the Author/Illustrator Team
On Monday we got to meet up with the author and illustrator team and what a fun team they were… of course we asked then se7en+1 questions because we knew you would want to know the backstory. And yes, they are just as much fun as they look…
- How did they meet? They met as drama students… and have been friends ever since.
- What did they want to be when they were kids and who inspired them? Emily wanted to be an actor, and her folks encouraged her try heaps of stuff until she found her niche. Julia wanted to be a teacher when she gee up and her granny always said: “da da da dum… (drum roll) you can do it” and was her her cheerleader and encourager. There is a lesson here… artists need encouragers!!!
- What’s their favourite childhood book? They both admitted that they loved reading as children… The author: Emily’s favourite childhood book was a little hard to find, Tiny but Tough and the illustrator: Julia, has a classic old favourite: What-A-Mess.
- What have they read just lately? Emily has just read: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender. and Julia has just read: "The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt. Both of them claimed that their books were so good, the sort of book that you didn’t want to start another one too soon afterwards… My kids saw this an indicator of true readers… folk that get lost in books and need a breathe of fresh air before diving into the next one.
- What sort of workspace do they have? And it was a unanimous: MESSY. Julia has her own room to work in and the only clear space is the space big enough for the piece of paper that she is working on at the time. And Emily works on a corner of the dining room table, which is no longer used as a dining room table. Aha… real people with real lives!!!
- When do they work? Are they disciplined and routined or whenever inspiration hits them? They try to be disciplined… but life is busy and things get in the way… so in reality they work when the inspiration hits them. They get in a zone and go…
- What would they tell potential young author/illustrators? Practice, practice, practice… always make time to practice your art and keep at it.
- What would be their favourite feast? Turns out these gals can rapture on about food quite a bit… they had something to say about chocolate, italian, sushi, indian, red wine… and just plain old fresh bread and cheese… hmmmmm, yummmm, they sure do know how to paint “word pictures!!!” And before they had started to wander off the whole gang were hauling out there sandwiches, clearly they had set tummies grumbling.
And then… one fun question to see if we could pull our interview together…
And would you look: They did add a stunning drawing to our ever growing collection of author/illustrators images in our sketchbook. Don’t you just love it!!! Julia sat and drew it while we chatted and can these gals chat… It was so lovely to meet them… and here is the back story. There is a real Jeff, Emily’s husband, who is just mad about rugby and he has a real little springbok mascot… with the cutest little face, and that would be George. Don’t you love it!!!
Our kids were having so much fun chatting that I don’t think they wanted to leave, so they took it upon themselves to teach them a few hand/armtwisting tricks…
And concluded that they should stick to books!!!
Couldn’t agree more!!! Meanwhile look out for Jeff and George on your book shop shelves and in your libraries… they are launching right now and getting outré there.
So we have a Jeff and George package to GiveAway: A signed copy of Jeff and George and the Totem Pole, as well as two kid size t-shirts (they would fit our 7-10 yr olds) to GiveAway to a lucky reader. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before 1 September 2014 and tell us “the title of your favourite childhood book.” We will draw and publish the winners in the following Fabulous Fun Post. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway.
Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!
We would love to thank Emily and Julia so very much for spending time with us and especially for their gift to us… and we would like to thank Penguin Books South Africa who provided us with two copies of the book, one for review purposes and the other for a giveAway. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to write the review and the opinions are as usual entirely our own.