Snuggle Piggy and the Magic Blanket
by Michele Stepto
Illustrated by John Himmelman
E. P. Dutton
For Raphael (from Michele)
To my goddaughter, Danielle (from me)
John Himmelman's Stories' Stories
Sometime in 1986, I ran an ad in a local paper seeking children's book manuscripts to illustrate. It's really not how you do it, but now that I was going at this full time, I needed to keep busy and I thought it could be worth a shot.
I received a bunch of stories in the mail, but only one grabbed me. Michele Stepto sent me Snuggle Piggy and the Magic Blanket. It's about a little boy who had a blanket that came alive with adventures. I absolutely loved it!
So did Lucia Monfried who'd recently moved to an editorial position at E.P. Dutton. She found the dummy tucked away in the back pocket of my portfolio and asked if I minded if she looked at it. I wasn't completely done with it and wasn't going to present it, but I figured it couldn't hurt to bring it along. SO glad I did!
As I mentioned, Snuggle Piggy was a little boy. I learned - later - it was her son. Didn't realize that when I read the manuscript - thought he was a pig. I showed some sketches to Michele. She was silent a while, and I thought that maybe she didn't like them. Turns out she was just very surprised I made her boy a pig.
But she said she liked this better.
On the Amanda and the Witch Switch page I talked about adding an "agent" - a subtle element to help ground the image. There, it was a ladybug. Here again, a ladybug. She's on most of the pages, but not always easy to find.
Can you find the ladybug?
This one's probably my favorite. The black (waterproof) ink line gets drawn first. Then the watercolor goes over that. Then the second line is drawn over the first. This helps pop the black lines from the color background.
LOOK WHAT ALMOST HAPPENED!
Some company made these prototypes for a Snuggle Piggy doll. Dutton didn't think any of them came close enough to the illustration and canned the idea. (I think the one on the top would have worked...)