Posted in picture books

Blog Tour and Author Interview: Perdu, by Richard Jones

Back in February, I wrote about Richard Jones’s latest book, Perdu – his first as an author and illustrator! This book about a little dog who really needs a friend melted my heart, so I’m happy to talk about it again for the book’s blog tour. Peachtree Publishers was wonderful and secured me an interview with author Richard Jones, too!

Perdu, by Richard Jones, (Apr. 2021, Peachtree Publishing),
$17.99, ISBN: 9781682632482
Ages 4-8

Poor Perdu finds himself lost and all alone on a dark rainy night, with nothing of his own except for an old red scarf. Hefollows a tumbling leaf through the countryside to the city, from night to day,in hopes of finding a place of his own. But in the busy city, people rush and shoo Perdu away.Will he ever find a comforting place to rest his aching legs or fill his grumbling tummy?

Your most recent book, Perdu, is also your first as an author! Is this the first story you were moved to write?

Richard Jones: Perdu’s story is very dear to me, but it’s not quite the first! The publishing world is a roly-poly business and projects get moved forward and back all the time. There are one or two other tales that came before this one that are waiting patiently for their time! However, Perdu is the first story of mine to be published and I’ll always think of it fondly.

Perdu’s little red scarf becomes such an emotional part of his story. What inspired it?

Richard Jones: Perdu is a dog with a mysterious past and I wanted him to carry a little piece of it with him as he searches for a place to call home. His scarf is his only possession, so when he loses it after a mix up in a café, he feels entirely lost. When the little girl kindly ties it back on, she’s not only returning to him his possession but also giving him back his self-worth and confidence.

You use color to communicate so many things in your books. I loved that the red of Perdu’s scarf matches the little girl’s knit hat. Can you talk about how you decide what colors to use when you’re working?

Richard Jones: I have pages and pages of sketches for the little girl’s coat and hat, I think I counted over 25 variations! In the end, red seemed the perfect color to use as it contrasted well with his night-black coat and made her stand out in the crowded city streets. I try and have a new palette of colors for each book, picked from photos and paintings I’ve spotted during the early stages of a project. I sometimes wonder if I’m not just a little bit color blind!

Was writing and illustrating Perdu more challenging than illustrating other authors’ work?

Richard Jones: I love reading other people’s stories and imagining how I might illustrate them. It’s one of the best parts of the job! However, working on Perdu felt a little more organic than other projects, as the two strands—the pictures and the words—developed together. As the pages evolved over time, they suggested little changes or shifts in the story that required a re-write or two. That’s something I wouldn’t always expect of another author!

 

Thank you so much!

Visit other stops on the Richard Jones/Perdu blog tour!

Additional resources:

Website with book summary and author bio: https://peachtree-online.com/portfolio-items/perdu/

Author Q&A: https://peachtree-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/QA_JonesR.pdf

Activity Sheets: https://peachtree-online.com/pdfs/Activity_Event/PerduActivitySheets.pdf

Book excerpt: https://peachtree-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/PerduExcerpt.pdf

How to Draw Perdu video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeNUtKJtczA

Richard Jones background about the creation of Perdu: https://www.paintedmouse.com/perdu-blog

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Lost little Perdu needs a home

Perdu, by Richard Jones, (Apr. 2021, Peachtree Publishing), $17.99, ISBN: 9781682632482

Ages 4-8

Perdu is a pup with no home. He’s hungry, cold, and lonely, and wanders the city trying to find something to eat. When he slips into a restaurant, he smells wonderful smells… but gets into terrible trouble. Will anyone find this poor pup and give him a home? Perdu – the French word for “lost” – pulls at the heartstrings in a big way; he’s small, cute, and author/illustrator Richard Jones makes him look so sad, alone with his little red scarf, the only thing he has to call his own, that readers won’t be able to help but want to take him home and cuddle him. The cruel language others yell at him – “Get out! Go away! Shoo!” – increases Perdu’s feelings of isolation, and when, out of desperation, he tries to get food in a restaurant, the public’s increased reaction causes a scared, aggressive reaction that Richard Jones masterfully illustrates with Perdu against a completely red background. Sharp-eyed viewers may notice Richard Jones’s Snow Lion on one page. This is Richard Jones’ debut as an author and illustrator, and he nails it on both counts. His artwork always communicates emotion and depth, and his gift for words creates a heartaching, and then, heartwarming story of a dog searching for a forever home. A good storytime choice.

Posted in picture books

Paper Planes keep a friendship together

Paper Planes, by Jim Helmore/Illustrated by Richard Jones, (March 2020, Peachtree Publishing), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-68263-161-4

Ages 4-8

A warm story about friendship, Paper Planes is the story of Mia and Ben, two best friends who spend their days making paper planes and dreaming of the day when they make a plane that will fly across the lake where they live. But Ben moves away, and Mia is distraught and angry until she has a wonderful dream where the two friends fly together. When she awakens, a surprise from Ben awaits her, and the two realize that distance means nothing to true friendship. The story is touching and compassionate, showing the conflicting feelings of anger and sadness that come when a friend moves away. Illustrations  and done in paint and Photoshop are soft and dreamy. It’s a story with a touch of magic and it’s a good title to have on hand for talking about friends or family who live far away.

The publisher has a free, downloadable sheet on making paper planes. You can find more templates for some familiar planes here, too.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Snow Lion: An imaginary friend provides courage

The Snow Lion, by Jim Helmore /Illustrated by Richard Jones, (Oct. 2018, Peachtree Publishers), $17.95, ISBN: 9781682630488

Ages 4-8

Cora is a little girl in a new house. She’d like to have someone to play with, but she’s terribly shy. Luckily for her, a friendly snow lion introduces himself and invites her to play. He disappears against the white, white walls of the house, making for a fun game of hide-and-seek. The Lion manages to nudge Caro out of the house to go play in the park, where she meets a boy named Bobby; from there, Bobby introduces her to his friends. When Caro’s mom decides to invite Caro’s new friends over to paint the house, the Snow Lion smiles and tells her that it’s time for him to move on – but that she’ll always know where to find him.

The Snow Lion is a comforting tale about moving and being the new kid. Caro’s imaginary friend – we see her reading a book about lions on the title page – is there to support her while she gains the courage to make new friends. The paint and Photoshop artwork is subdued, and the Lion is a quietly supportive presence, first blending into walls, then standing out against blue, yellow, and red backgrounds as he and Caro play together. Even though the Snow Lion moves on, he’s a guiding presence by the story’s end. Gray and white endpapers feature snow lions, snowflakes, and geometric shapes.

A gentle story for kids who have recently moved, are about to move, or just need a little something to lean on.

Author Jim Helmore’s author website has free downloadables related to his other books. Illustrator Richard Jones’ webpage has more to say about The Snow Lion and his other work.