This is my entry for the Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award, sponsored by SCBWI. The winner will be announced January 2nd.
This year Mr. dePaola chose text from Chicken Licken, and it’s a mouthful with no less than 6 speaking characters.
So they went along and went along until they met Turkey Lurkey.
“Good morning, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Daddles, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny,
and Chicken Licken,” said Turkey Lurkey, “where are you going?”
“Oh, Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling and we are going to tell the King!”
“How do you know the sky is falling?” asked Turkey Lurkey.
“Ducky Daddles told me,” said Goosey Loosey.
“Cocky Locky told me,” said Ducky Daddles.
“Henny Penny told me,” said Cocky Locky.
“Chicken Licken told me,” said Henny Penny
“I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears,
and a piece of it fell on my tail!” said Chicken Licken.
“Then I will go with you,” said Turkey Lurkey, “and we will tell the King!”
It surprised me how much my finished piece resembles the first of my thumbnail sketches.
This is my full-size pencil sketch.
I’ve become enamored with folk-embroidery and costuming, so it was a real joy to create a cast of multi-cultural fowl, set in a time long ago.
This image by the 19th century Russian painter Ivan Shishkin was the inspiration for my setting.
Don’t we all wish we had a winding path, a stream, and a birch tree forest?
There aren’t many birch forests down here in So. California, but I was happy to find out that they do exist in the Northeast, including Illinois, where this awesome Sauk Indian once lived.
She’s in “transitional dress.” She’s adopted the calico blouse of the new settlers, but covered it with silver brooches and ornamented her traditional wraparound skirt with silk ribbons. The painter, George Catlin, was an untrained artist who dedicated his life to recording these vanishing Peoples. Interesting article on him here.
My research uncovered some colorful local wildlife, like this Yellow Bellied Sapsucker (a fun name to say),
and wildflowers. Among them are these happy, daisy-like flowers called Bloodroot.
The red sap from the roots of this plant make a natural dye and has been used for some nice and not-so-nice medicinal purposes.
Turkey Lurkey is a Native American from the Sauk tribe. She’s weeding with a scapula hoe, a traditional tool made from the shoulder bone of a bison.
Goosey Loosey is French-Canadian. She’s returning from market with, among other things, a bottle of wine and some french bread. She’s holding a parasol similar to the one Monet painted.
This is one of many images I looked at to figure out a traditional French costume.
Henny Penny is collecting mushrooms. She and Cocky Locky are Russian. They are also falling in love.
Ducky Lucky is a Mandarin duck. He’s a Chinese fisherman, inspired by Chinese Mudmen figurines.
Chicken Licken is a youngster who was riding his tricycle when a piece of the sky fell on him.
Foxy Loxy, who is overhearing their silly discourse, is Italian. He’s thinking about making a meal of chicken cattatorre with the basket of tomatoes he’s carrying.
My pretty fowl, however, will foil Foxy Loxy’s dinner plans. I envision a happy ending, culminating with a festive meal prepared with all the food they’ve grown and gathered (including Foxy Loxy’s tomatoes). And Chicken Licken’s contribution? Why, he’ll make a wondrous bouquet of wildflowers for their centerpiece.
See? he’s already started. He’s holding the state flower of Illinois, the Violet.