Goodnight, Mice!

Goodnight, Mice!

Goodnight, Mice!

Australian author Frances Watts' poetic story is lavishly accompanied by acclaimed illustrator Judy Watson's depictions of one very small family's night-time routine.

It's time to say goodnight - but the four cheeky mice skittering, scampering and scurrying to bed don't seem very sleepy!

Sure to become an Australian classic, Frances Watts' Goodnight, Mice! is the perfect antidote to the often fraught bedtime schedule of any household with young children.

Kiss Dad once.
Cuddle Mum twice.
'Goodnight, Mum and Dad.'
'Goodnight, mice.'

Frances Watts' first book for children, Kisses for Daddy, illustrated by David Legge, has sold over 250,000 copies around the world and was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards. Her second project, Parsley Rabbit's Book about Books, was the winner of the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books in the 2008 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, was named a Books Alive Great Read and won the Galley Club Award. As well as continuing to write picture books, Frances has been working on a series of junior novels about two very unlikely superheroes, Extraordinary Ernie and Marvellous Maud, with illustrator Judy Watson. She has also been writing the Gerander trilogy, an exciting tale about the adventures of four plucky mice, the first book of which, The Song of the Winns, was published in 2010.

Judy Watson is the talented illustrator of the Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud series (written by Frances Watts) and several books in the Aussie Bites series. Judy lives in a seaside town in Victoria, with her husband and two children.

Goodnight, Mice!
ABC Books
Author: Frances Watts
Illustrator: Judy Watson
ISBN: 9780733324215
Price: $24.99


Interview with Frances Watts

Question: What inspired you to write Goodnight, Mice!?

Frances Watts: Goodnight, Mice! started with a rhyme:
Kiss Dad once.
Cuddle Mum twice.
'Goodnight, Mum and Dad.'
'Goodnight, mice.'
It popped into my head one day and took me by surprise, as I'd never written a rhyming text before, but I do love language, love to hear books read aloud, and the challenge and pleasure of the rhyming text soon had me hooked.


Question: You've worked alongside Judy Watson before, what makes you two a good team?

Frances Watts: Working with Judy Watson is a constant delight. While Goodnight, Mice! is our first picture book together, we have worked together on a series of junior novels for newly confident readers. The series is about two trainee superheroes, Extraordinary Ernie and Marvellous Maud. (The fourth title in the series, Heroes of the Year, is due out in August.) Ernie is a boy and Maud is…a sheep! Judy's illustrations for the Ernie and Maud books are so warm, funny and charming, and I had the wonderful experience of seeing these characters who were so real in my head come to life in her pictures. Although I didn't have a particular image of what the characters looked like, when Judy drew them I felt an instant sense of recognition: ah yes, of course, that's exactly how they look. I hope we have the opportunity to make many more books together.


Question: What do you like most about writing picture books?

Frances Watts: It's hard to choose a 'most' - I like so many aspects of writing picture books. The best thing, really, is seeing children enjoying the books. It's great to bring smiles to kids' faces. And a really important part of that, for me, is that I'm helping kids to develop a positive attitude towards books and reading. But it's also about the joy of storytelling; I've always loved stories. I like being part of a creative team, too, working with an illustrator. Creating picture books is satisfying on so many level.


Question: When is the perfect time for families to read Goodnight, Mice! And why?

Frances Watts: Bedtime, of course! Children will enjoy recognising their own bedtime rituals in the activities of Mitzi, Billy, Clementine and Oliver. But although bedtime is a perfect time to share the book, I think really it works at just about any time. There's enough fun and mischief to make it an engaging daytime read, with plenty of humorous details to pore over in the pictures. The lively rhyming text is also a great springboard for a bit of wordplay and fun with language.


Question: Can you tell us about the Gerander trilogy?

Frances Watts: The Gerander trilogy is for older kids (9-12), and is full of action and intrigue and mystery and adventure, as well as lots of humour. The first book, The Song of the Winns, came out late last year. In it we meet triplets Alex, Alice and Alistair. When Alistair mysteriously vanishes, his brother and sister learn a family secret and realise that Alistair's life is in danger - unless they find him first. It's a real page-turner! The second book in the trilogy, The Spies of Gerander, comes out in September this year.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

 

 




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