Today we’re excited to celebrate the cover reveal forWhen I’m Not Looking by Farren Phillips, releasing May 18, 2021 from Yeehoo Press!
The cover of When I’m Not Looking. Behold!
An interactive detective story with fun fill-in-the-blanks and laugh out loud details.
Legs loves her pet duck. But Legs isn’t quite sure what her duck gets up to when she’s not looking. Her duck may want Legs to think that she is just sitting around a pond eating bread all day, but Legs knows better than that! She is certain that her duck is more likely dressing like a knight and fighting dragons, starting an army of ducks, building a rocket, and even trying on Leg’s best pants.
Young readers will love joining Legs on her quest to solve the mystery. Using their creativity, imagination, and detective skills, they can help Legs find the truth about what her duck does when she’s not looking.
The English and Chinese editions of When I’m Not Looking will be published by Yeehoo Press simultaneously in May 2021.
Farren stopped by to share an inside peek at how this book was made. Farren wrote the words in green. Thank you, Farren!
‘When I’m Not Looking’ was inspired by the concept of Schrodinger’s cat, and in its earliest stage was called ‘The Paraducks’ as a nod to this.
Children are born philosophers – always questioning the world around them – and I wanted to create a narrative that gave direction to that insatiable curiosity and explored the countless, quirky possibilities a child’s imagination could conjure for a seemingly simple quandary.
This was an incredibly fun book to work on, especially coming up with the wild and wacky things our duck could be up to, as well as designing all of the little background details and hide and seek elements that tell you just that little bit more about the characters.
One of my favourite memories from when I was a child is of my dad reading me and my brothers stories like ‘Pass the Jam, Jim’ by Kaye Umansky and Margret Chamberlain. These books had lots of objects and little details on the pages that he would get us to search for, and it made the experience of story time more like an interactive game which encouraged us to play as well as learn together as a family. I enjoyed implementing this into ‘When I’m Not Looking’; to make a book that was more than just a story, but an experience that could be shared between parent and child, teacher and students, siblings and more. It’s a special story that the reader gets to adapt to make their own.
As children we are taught never to draw or write in our storybooks, but this one is different. ‘When I’m Not Looking’ actively encourages you to add to the pages and use your creativity to make it your own.
When creating the art for this story in particular, I really wanted to represent a realistic household for the family to inhabit. Too often in picture books I see very big, squeaky clean houses, which are pretty, but don’t represent households like those I grew up in; cluttered messy houses with spills and stains and toys left everywhere, even though you’ve been asked a million times to pick them up. Houses with drawings on the walls and clothing dumped wherever they’re removed, and pet stuff starting to stack up. These kinds of details bring a reality to the story for me, as well as paint a better picture of what life is like for these characters and who they are as people. It was a lot of fun to think about the kind of things I had as a child, the things my friends had, the kind of things I see in the homes of exasperated parents today, and to include them into the imagery.
The main character, Legs, was very entertaining to write and I took inspiration from my own childhood to develop her. I feel many people would look back at my younger years and say I was a ‘difficult’ child, but really I was just a creative spirit with a lot of pent up emotions and a penchant for letting my imagination run away with me. Legs is a fond reflection of this. She’s a very headstrong girl with strong opinions and lots of passion and ideas, but she quickly finds herself getting carried away and frustrated by her inability to puzzle out the truth. Legs is close to my heart, and as a sassy, funny, creative kid, I hope that she’ll be as lovable to the reader as she is to me.
Working with Yeehoo Press on this book has been a brilliant experience. The response has been endlessly positive and their feedback always encouraging. I never once doubted that everyone wanted ‘When I’m Not Looking’ to be the best or could be.
I excitedly await the launch of the book and can’t wait to see the world of hilarious possibilities the readers will bring to the story.
Visit Farren online at https://www.farrenphillipsillustration.co.uk/
Again, thanks so much, Farren, for sharing your inside peek on this journey. We’ve made a small FREE gift for teachers, parents, kids, and book lovers, click HERE to download an activity sheet based on When I’m Not Looking. Have fun!
Some wonderful giveaways will come soon. Stay tuned!