Maybe the Moon is the first picture book by writer and artist Frances Ives. It’s published by Michael O’Mara Books and we’re thrilled to be joining the blog tour to celebrate its publication.
Eric is happy living in the forest with his mum, he likes the plants and the animals and at night he likes to look up at the sky and think about how the moon he sees is also shining down on him and all the people he loves.
But one day Eric’s life is turned upside down when his mum takes him on a long journey to live in the city. Nothing could be further from the life Eric has left behind as his open green forest is replaced by an imposing grey city.
Eric finds it hard to adjust to his new life, even the moon looks different. But before long, he builds up the courage to go out and explore the city and finds that there are plenty of new things to love even though they are so different to what he’s used to.
Frances’s emotive artwork is truly striking and the idea of the moon as an anchor to remind you of the people you love is beautiful. This is a wonderful debut and an excellent book to share with children who might be facing a big change in their lives to reassure them that even though change is scary sometimes there are also lots of positives to be found if you just take the time to look.
We’re very pleased to welcome the creator of Maybe the Moon, Frances Ives, to the blog who has very kindly answered our questions:
Congratulations on your first picture book! Can you tell us a bit about how or why you decided to create a picture book?
Thank you very much! I’d had the bare bones of the idea for a long time, since making a very early draft during a university project, and I never quite let the idea go! I grew quite attached to Eric, and the story is something I identify with, and think is important to tell.
Maybe the Moon is based on your experiences of moving to a big city, what are your favourite things about living in the countryside and the city?
The city has so much to offer in the way of culture and history – there is always something to do or a new exhibition or place to explore, and it’s something I need to take advantage of more! Of course, a lot of my friends live here too, and enjoying those things with them makes it infinitely better. The open space and calm of the countryside is a huge contrast, but something I find invaluable. There’s not much I enjoy more than walks in the middle of fields and hearing the wind in the trees and the birds, and no cars! I grew up there, and I hope to end up back there again one day.
Did you always want to be an artist and do you have any advice for any budding artists?
I think I always did – painting and making is one of the things I enjoy the most. My parents will happily tell you about the mess I used to make as a child! To make something you love into a career, and still retain that love, is always the dream. In terms of advice, just keep going! There are always times that I still wonder how on earth I can make this into a paying job, but I think reminding yourself of the small successes, and enjoying the process of creating and improving, keeps it feeling fun.
Where do you look to for inspiration for your artwork and your writing?
Anywhere and everywhere! Maybe the Moon is loosely based on my own experiences, and there are bits of imagery that are definitely inspired by the London skyline and my idealised view of country life. I love to look at artwork outside of illustration too – some of my favourite work is by Anselm Kiefer, whose huge mixed media pieces never fail to amaze me, and Norman Ackroyd, whose work I can feel myself longing to be in. Their love for their own subject is visible, and something I always aspire to.
Did you have any favourite books, authors or illustrators when you were a child?
I was a complete bookworm as a child, and would shove a book or two at my parents every morning and night so they would read them to me! ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle, ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ and ‘Burglar Bill’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, and the Thomas the Tank Engine books were my absolute favourites. As I grew older, I devoured everything by Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson, and of course the Harry Potter series, which I’m (not so secretly) still excited by now. There are so many beautiful picture books around now, so I’m constantly getting inspired, and I’m really grateful to be able to add my work in amongst these books that I love.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Frances, some great book choices from when you were little too!
Buy Maybe the Moon from Wordery.
Be sure to catch up with the rest of the blog tour with these fellow book bloggers…
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