PPBF: Playdate + Interview!

86EBD916-ED38-433B-BBCA-A0560652D8C9Author: Maryann Macdonald
Rahele Jomepour Bell
Albert Whitman, 2019
Themes: opposites, rhyming stories
Opening: Me. You. One. Two.

Summary: (from the publishers) A picture book with minimal text and maximum impact, as portrayed through both the well-chosen words and the fun-filled, evocative illustrations.

I like this book because: this is a perfect read for storytime with a simple rhythm and delightfully engaging, bright, and cheerful illustrations. Young children love seeing familiar scenes like finding a friend to play with, and listening to the back and forth of words and concepts they already know.

4D5360BC-C144-44C9-9334-9B50F2983DF3Resources/activities: give children a musical instrument to hold while reading and allow them to add to the melodious nature of the story; read more books featuring opposites, like Karen’s Opposites, or Double Take; make a playdate, read the story, and act out the fun featured in the book! 

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE.

5C1ACE67-37AB-4CBB-9D5C-2269C3498306Rahele was gracious enough to send me the book herself, including the promotional cards (above) AND to answer a few questions (with sketches!) for the post!

What is your favorite task in the book-making process?

For me the most exciting and favorite part of the book making is coming with the ideas for the cover! It is that moment you are sure that your book is coming together, and it feels like a real book!

For Playdate we (Me, Art director, the editor) worked on the cover before starting to make illustrations for the interior pages! It was great because it helped me to understand the story concept a little bit more. So the characters of the book came out when I made the final cover for the PLAYDATE book!

Rick DeMonico sent me the mock up for the cover and I put my sketch on it and sent it back to him! After discussing with the editor, we came with this critic that the children look a little bit older than what we want them be!

Here is the first sketch for the PLAYDATE cover (the book title still was not finalized)


Then again, I came with another sketch-idea for the book cover and it’s this one:

6A1A5AB2-03AC-4221-B25F-0B112173C51BThen Rick wrote back to me and said “ Rahele, We like the direction of the dress up sketch. Our comments are as follows. Delete the surrounding details like the banner, the car, butterfly. We want the book to be all about the kids. If they are outside the grass should be simplified. Please keep the dog though! We would like to switch out one of the girls for a boy.

So, This is what I came with these two sketches for the cover, following their comments. And BANG!!! The one with 1 boy, 1 girl and the dog which is leading the parade was confirmed and I went right to the color stage and did a little bit changes for the final and the one that now is the the cover of the PLAYDATE was approved by the publisher!

Rick is a wonderful art director and I would love to thank him for all I have learned from him!


1D131621-35D1-4CF2-906A-0F4EEF1C67A8940EC50D-EEF3-4D46-AE00-8C7D41195BD1This photo is a screen shot from @booksfordiversity page on Instagram.

One tip on keeping organized or on-task with illustration work?

For me putting the sketches up on the wall helps me to stay focused on the project and this helps me to keep also organized! And knowing what the next step is to go feels good too. I can also see how much work I have done and how many more I have to do and get them done on time!

What do you do when you feel your creativity-tank is running low?

I make ugly work when I feel I am not creative enough to make art I can show people! But the good thing about making ugly art is I always find new things in it! Like finding new texture, new color pallet or pattern I can use in my better work! So basically, making an ugly work is playing with color and texture without thinking of making something beautiful!?

Name an un-related skill you have that in some way helps with your work making picture books.

Collecting my favorite items that later on I bring them into illustrations unconsciously like seeing some specific leaves with interesting form that I had been collecting them from long time ago!

One-for-fun: a favorite scent?

I have a lot of favorite scent but one of my most favorite one is geranium and the scent coming out when the leaves are touched! It reminds me of my grandma’s house and the little fountain in the middle of the yard with geranium flowers around of it!

Thank you, Rahele for sharing a bit about your process – I especially like that geraniums remind you of your grandmother. I never got to meet either of mine, so details like these are special, even if it’s not bout my own. Discover more about Rahele’s artwork on her website – HERE; follow her on Instagram – HERE or twitter – HERE

11 thoughts on “PPBF: Playdate + Interview!

  1. I love those sweet illustrations and the interview was great, too!
    As a beginner “watercolorist” I love Rahelle’s comment about her ugly art. If an artist as accomplished as her still has ugly art then it gives me hope 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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