Monday, June 22, 2009

UNIT: Mermaids / *Interview with Melanie*

Who isn’t mesmerized by mermaids? Can you name other magical sea creatures?

Mermaid Temporary Tatoos
I love to wear these beautiful tatoos in the Mermaid Parade. The tatoos were also a big hit at my book launch party. The incredible artist, Ruth Soffer, is a neighbor on my block who has been a Nature illustrator for the past 25 years. The first publication of her mermaid tatoos was in 1996. See all her gorgeous artwork for Dover Publications here.

Mermaid Legends
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen adapted into film and a Broadway show.
Mermaids Book List

With permission of Nicole Feliciano I post the entire blog interview.
Thanks, Nicole!

What little girl doesn't love mermaids! Brooklyn author and illustrator, Melanie Hope Greenberg, tapped into this love with her new book, MERMAIDS ON PARADE. Greenberg celebrates a Brooklyn tradition with her latest book. Every year thousands of spectators watch this art parade in Coney Island. This book turns the spectacle into a dreamy backdrop for a little girl's fantasy. The award-winning book is stuffed with colorful gouache illustrations and sure to delight fanciful girls. I caught up with the author to learn more about what inspires her work.

Q: Did you like to read as a kid?

MHG: My two older sisters taught me to read before I started kindergarten. I developed a love of reading. My books were on my toy shelf. That’s how I saw books, they were toys. I did not own many books, I mostly borrowed books from my local public library branch.

Q: Why do you think little girls love Mermaids?

MHG: Mermaids are magical, shiny and beautiful. They spark the imagination. They stretch the boundaries of reality which children do quite naturally. Mythological creatures bring us inside ourselves, to the mysterious wonder of existence. I think mermaids help little girls feel their gorgeous femaleness, as well as feel smart and strong.

Q: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

MHG: I adored a book called “Little Witch” by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. I re-read it so many times. I still think about the main character, Minx, mixing colorful powdered potion combinations when I mix my paints. I also loved a book called “Lisa and Lottie” by Erich Kastner. The bookwas the original story for the movie “The Parent Trap”. I loved the Nancy Drew series too. My parents subscribed to Life and Look Magazines and I think my love for dramatic pictorial storytelling was influenced by looking at the photos in these magazines.

Q: What makes a great children's book?

MHG: Truthfully, I think the public decides. Sometimes a book comes out at the right time and strikes the fancy of the collective. There is no one formula for successful publishing because the public mood and tastes are a part of the formula. And the public’s tastes and moods change all the time. All a publisher can do is take a chance on a book idea they love and hope that the public falls in love too.

Mermaid Tatoo artwork by Ruth Soffer for Dover Publications


Michael said...

I love those tattoos. I bought some last year and wished I would kept a few. Everyone wanted one. It is a great way to read Mermaids on Parade--book in one hand and temporary mermaid tattoo on the other.

melanie hope greenberg said...

Hi Michael, Click on the link and go to Dover Publication's Ruth Soffer catalogue page. You can order from them or from Amazon.

Hey Everybody, Michael Santangelo introduced me to the mermaid tatoos last year. Everyone loved them. After my launch party, I realized they were created by my long time neighbor, Ruth.
What great synchronicity.