Eric Rohmann and I have just completed a nonfiction picture book for Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook (Summer, 2016) titled Giant Squid. I confess I came on board late in this project. Eric had already sketched out the illustrations. In fact, he had an entire wordless dummy when he invited me to write some accompanying text. This definitely felt like a case of putting the cart before the horse. But I loved the challenge. What did I come up with? Here’s a sampling from the book’s beginning. What do you think?
Down, down in the depths of the sunless sea,
deep, deep in the cold, cold dark,
strange and fearsome,
With writhing arms and ghostly, lidless eyes
some large as buses,
some weighing a ton.
So big, yet rarely seen.
Instead, they are merely glimpsed,
now and then,
from the prow of a ship . . .
from a rocky seashore . . .
through the lens of an underwater camera.
Who are these giants of the dark seas?
How do they hunt?
How do they eat?
How do they breed?
It is a mystery.
After all, how can you know about an animal hidden from view?
You must rely on clues,
as scientists do,
clues left behind by the creatures themselves.
Pieces found around the world,
found over centuries,
and people walking the beach.
You examine each piece,
questioning and guessing,
wondering at the weirdness of these baffling beasts.
Beasts we call giant squid.
Photo Description: A plastified Giant Squid (Architeuthis sanctipauli). Natural History Museum, Paris. It is the first plastified giant squid exposed in a museum. 9 meters long.
Photo Credit: By Stephanemartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Charlie Barshaw says
I’m sure Eric drafted compelling illustrations, but your words simply but eloquently paint a vivid picture of these shadowy denizens of the deep.
Bina Williams says
Or putting the squid before the horse! Your words are terrific and I know the illustrations are too! Can’t wait to see it! Nay, to own it!
Kathy Doherty says
It’s always fun to learn of your latest collaboration. I never would have guessed a giant squid, though.
Jilanne Hoffmann says
Lovely images. Great response to visual prompts!
Pat Miller says
I’ve heard about authors who extend their reach–but going from Romanovs to squids is QUITE the stretch! I think your free verse with its words floating down the depth of the page like a mysterious sea creature is a perfect match. Looking forward to this lovely collaboration–as always!
Damon Dean says
Wow. Want to read it NOW! Like others have said, your words are seriously deep with imagery. Love your pacing (and spacing) and this will be undoubtedly a book I will get my tentacles on.
Shelley Smithson says
So I am coming on board about this book rather late, but was checking on this blog tonight. A giant squid can be as big as a BUS????? I love the suspenseful, somewhat eerie way your word and images work, Candy, to lure the reader in to learn more about creatures that live on the planet with us, yet seem like aliens. You create a mysterious tension that I will be interested in experiencing to its fullest when the book becomes available.
Valery Larson says
Inspiring! Can’t wait to hold it in my tenta- I mean hands.
I am so glad that you and Eric have brought this book to completion. I have been looking forward to it ever since Eric shared his work at Judson. Congratulations and I must commend you on the lyrical way in which you have introduced children to this amazing creature. I can’t wait to read it in its entirety.
Ellis Christ says
Thanks for coming along…partner – Kazoo Kid