What made you decide to write Llama Llama Mad at Mama?
I wrote Llama Llama Mad at Mama? because I knew that all little Llamas have to go shopping with mama (or papa, as the case may be) when they really don’t want to, and I wanted to write about it. I also just missed Llama Llama, and I wanted him to have another adventure.
What would you like young readers to learn from Llama Llama?
I hope young readers will relate to Little Llama, laugh at him and with him, and cuddle up closer with their parents as they read together. I hope my books will deepen the relationship children have with their parents, and empower children through that relationship.
Are any of your characters based on you or your family?
I think of my books as “true” stories, meaning that they are based on the real experiences that I’ve had as a child or a mother. Certainly, I’ve spent many hours in the big box stores, wandering the aisles, listening to little children scream with frustration in the carts as their parents try to get them to stop. I’ve also spent a great deal of time with my own children (one of whom hated to shop), shopping on the weekend because I had to work during the week….it’s no fun.
What was your favorite book growing up?
My favorite book was probably Higglety Pigglety Pop, by Maurice Sendak. It’s not his most famous book, but it is a great work of philosophy! Plus, it has wonderful drawings of Jennie the dog.
You have written as well as illustrated your own books. How do you come up with the faces for your characters?
I’m the sort of person who makes a lot of faces, whether or not I’m aware of it. If I feel something, it goes across my face. When I’m drawing Llama Llama, I imagine how he feels, I make the face, and I draw it. I think I must look pretty funny, alone in my studio, scowling at the paper.
What advice would you give children who aspire to be future illustrators?
Draw, draw, and draw some more! Look at lots of pictures, go to museums, and gets ideas from other artists. Make up stories and draw pictures to go along with them. Most of all, don’t worry about drawing or painting the way other people do….in the end, the way you draw is the best for you. Make the best pictures only you can make!