Monday, September 9, 2013

Loved to Pieces . . . with Matt Tavares

This morning, acclaimed author-illustator Matt Tavares visits the Cottage to share his first favorite book. 

My first favorite picture book was Ira Sleeps Over, by Bernard Waber. I remember my mother reading this one over and over to me. 

I think that as a child reading the story, I liked knowing the ending, because when poor Ira kept worrying and worrying that his friend Reggie was going to make fun of him for having a teddy bear, it was reassuring to know all along that he had nothing to worry about. And there was something very comforting about the ending, when (spoiler alert) Ira discovers that he was all worried for nothing, and his friend Reggie had a teddy bear too. 

From Ira Sleeps Over. Copyright 1972 by Bernard Waber.
One of my greatest thrills early in my career was getting to meet Bernard Waber, when we were both signing books at the same event. I bought a brand new copy of Ira Sleeps Over (I don't know where my original copy ended up) and asked him to sign it for me. 
Bernard Waber and Matt Tavares at FAO Schwartz in NYC
Matt's signed copy of Ira Sleeps Over
Looking at Ira Sleeps Over as an adult, it definitely looks different than I remember it. I could have sworn the illustrations were bigger, and full color, but they're mostly vignettes, and just black ink with splashes of 3 colors--red, yellow, and green. Somehow, Mr. Waber created such a vivid world with that limited palate, and I think my imagination must have filled in the rest--just what a great picture book should do. 

Matt Tavares is the award-winning author-illustrator of Zachary's Ball, Becoming Babe Ruth, There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived, Henry Aaron's Dream, Mudball, and Oliver's Game, and the illustrator of Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller, Over the River and Through the Wood, Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy, The Gingerbread Pirates, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Jack and the Beanstalk, Iron Hans: A Grimms' Fairy Tale, and Lady Liberty: A Biography. His next book, Jubilee! One Man's Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace, written by Alicia Potter, will be released in April 2014. 

Matt lives in Maine with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters.

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