Book Reviews, Gabriel Alborozo, Henry Holt, Q&A

Good Night, Firefly, plus Q&A – Gabriel Alborozo

Gabriel Alborozo is an author and illustrator from the South of England. He previously worked as a cartoonist for Private Eye and Punch, and luckily for us he switched to picture books!

Good Night, Firefly is his latest release (published June 2015 by Henry Holt), and is nothing short of lovely…

Said the Mudwaffler… ‘Good Night, Firefly will leave you with a warm glow inside…’

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The Story

Nina is scared of the dark, but her night-light makes it OK, until, one night… the electricity goes out! Her room fills up with creepy shadows and monster whispers, and her mum and dad are too busy being asleep to notice… luckily, help is at hand, just outside her bedroom window – FIREFLIES!

Nina collects one in a jar, and sleep has long been forgotten as Nina and her firefly have lots of fun. But, of course the fun can’t last forever, and the little firefly’s glow starts to dim. Nina tries everything she can think of to make it feel better…

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and when all else fails, she realises what she has to do.

This really is a lovely story indeed! And great for reading aloud at bedtime, especially if the lights go out!­

The Artwork

Oh my! Alborozo’s illustrations are executed perfectly in this spectacular feat of cross-hatching wonderstuff! The book is printed in only two colours – a red for Nina’s pyjama top and a soft yellow glow for the firefly, everything else is made with black and white, and with great effect; the long dark shadows and the glows of light really move your eyes around each page. My favourite illustration has to be this one…

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What a book! And well worthy of the Mudwaffler’s stamp –  a badge will be winging its way to Gabriel soon!

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Now, it’s WAFFLE time! Gabriel Alborozo joins us for a Q&A…

What inspired you to make Goodnight Firefly?

I’d been noodling around in a sketchbook for a while with ideas for a story that was predominantly black and white. (Probably due to my years as a gag cartoonist I think my default setting is black and white).

So I was looking for a story that could carry that as an idea. The thinking was essentially ‘make it nighttime…what will give off light and be a character? (fireflies) kids love fireflies…story.

I did a few roughs and wrote a draft text and off it went.

What are you currently working on (any sneak peek news!?)?

I have a fair bit at the moment thankfully. I’m finishing off my second book for Henry Holts, which is also mainly black and white but this time with more colour coming in. (To do a second black and white wasn’t really deliberate. It developed from further thinking in the same vein as Firefly.)

I’m also in the process of making a book for Simon and Schuster about a particularly inattentive tiger.

Other than that I’m spending a lot of time getting back into working traditionally with the intention of abandoning the computer forever. I need to get inky again for the sake of my sanity. Its a long process of getting rid of all the rust that’s accumulated over the years.

What is your favourite thing to draw?

Trees, bears, all of nature really. I get a bit bored drawing people to be honest. Unless it’s pianists or unicyclists or similar. And God forbid I have to draw a car or something.

Who (or what) are your influences?

There are so many! E H Shepherd is a huge one that springs to mind. There are dozens. I suppose when it comes down to it, it’s illustrators that have a loose, energetic line. The ones that haven’t laboured it.

Especially artists that have managed to plough their own furrow. Tomi Ungerer is a prime example. What a guy.

Do you have any advice for illustrators/writers who are just starting out?

The best advice I think is just keep going. You might spend a long, long time broke and working in coffee shops but if you just keep going, and really, really put in the hours of practice you’ll get there.

Draw every single day. Oh, and as much as possible, listen to your heart.

and three for fun…

What are three words that best describe you?

Bit like Piglet.

What is your favourite colour?

Yellow I think.

If you could share a cuppa with anyone (alive or dead), anywhere, who would it be, where would you go, and why?

Buddha, probably outside the ‘Barking Frog cafe’ in Sydney. Just shoot the breeze a bit and get a bit of wisdom from the mellowest man in the world.

or Cat Stevens…whoever’s free on the day.

Many thanks to Gabriel!

Be sure to check out his website: www.alborozo.co.uk or find him on Twitter: @gabrielalborozo

Swamp Hugs! Till the next time…

The Mudwaffler

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