An interview with Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird on My Butt is So Silly
The Children’s Book Review
Beloved author Dawn McMillan and award-winning illustrator Ross Kinnaird share some insight into their reading and writing lives. They, of course, discuss their latest collaboration, My Butt is So Silly!
I write because …
Dawn McMillan: I can’t help it! I write in my head while I’m driving, gardening, and walking the coast road. It’s so exciting when I shift my ‘head writing’ to the computer screen. As a child, I spent a lot of time alone, but I was never lonely because I had so many imaginary friends, and now my characters are my imaginary friends.
I make art because …
Ross Kinnaird: I love art. I’ve always loved drawing ever since I was young.
And I was terrible at math at school. (I still am). I drew pictures in all my math books — not recommended. So art was something I was good at.
I read because …
Dawn McMillan: I love meeting the people in the stories. I like biographies, and I like fiction with interesting characters. I read because words on a page take me to meet new people. For me reading is very relaxing and sometimes I doze off, leaving the book to fall on the floor!
Ross Kinnaird: I can escape into a fantasy world. I find it amazing that little black squiggles (letters and words) on a page can do this. That is sooo clever!
Our latest published book together is …
Dawn and Ross: My Butt is SO SILLY!
Dawn McMillan: I love Ross’s illustrations!
Ross Kinnaird: Haha! Another funny story from Dawn and more silly butt drawings from me.
I wrote this book because …
Dawn McMillan: I thought it was a fun idea. That butt has so many stories. So many adventures. So much energy! I wanted to explore hyperactive behavior and create some chaos, but also to give a positive outcome for Red Pants Boy and his family.
The art medium I used was …
Ross Kinnaird: a computer. I have an Apple Mac and a large screen called a Wacom that I can draw directly on It’s great because I can work very quickly with Dawn who lives in another town …. and anyone from around the world via email.
My special place to write is …
Dawn McMillan: My little studio in our back garden. I have a big window there from which I can see the park and the sea. It’s my own little place, although I often share it with Lola our cat. She likes to come to work and I can try out my stories by reading them aloud to her. Sometimes she walks over the computer keyboard and adds a few interesting new words.
My favorite place to create & illustrate is …
Ross Kinnaird: In my garden in Auckland, New Zealand. I have a little studio under a very large tree called a Pohutukawa. I love it there … especially when it’s raining. I can escape there and concentrate on my work … and have a nice cup of tea in peace. I put a sign on the door that says BEWARE! Trespassers will be made to wear granny pants!
Necessary writing/ creativity tool …
Dawn McMillan: I write on the computer. I like to see the words on the page, and I can keep changing my mind about how I say things. I take copies of the work in process in case I change my mind again. I’m always changing my mind! And then there’s Spellcheck. How I love Spellcheck.
My most used art supply or tool is …
Ross Kinnaird: Photoshop on my computer, and sometimes Fresco on my Ipad. Working digitally is great because if I make a mistake (very rare, haha!) I can easily correct it. Also, the pictures I draw can be sent directly to a printing company without needing to be scanned which makes the books look better.
The person who has been my greatest writing teacher or inspiration is …
Dawn McMillan: I admire all the wonderful writers I meet. I’m energized by crazy fun books like Wombat Stew, an Australian delight, and by the many wonderful children’s books on the shelves. And I’m old enough to know of Bill Peet and his works. Bill Peet was loved by children, parents, teachers, and librarians for over 61 years. His books make reading fun and teach positive values. I wish I had met Bill.
My Illustrator idols are …
Ross Kinnaird: Dr. Seuss. And all the thousands of young illustrators out there who are better than me … Harrumph!
When I am not reading or writing …
Dawn McMillan: I am at the beach, in the garden, or having coffee with my friends.
When I am not reading or writing or illustrating, I am …
Ross Kinnaird: Walking on a beach. Fiddling around with an old car that I have (and getting cross with it!). Catching flies for my carnivorous plants. Growing tomatoes and herbs. (And eating them on a pizza — Nooooo NOT the flies!)
About the Book
My Butt is So Silly
Written by Dawn McMillan
Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
Ages 6-10 | 32 Pages
Publisher: Dover Publications | ISBN-13: 9780486849768
Publisher’s Synopsis: Everyone’s favorite character from I Need a New Butt!, I Broke My Butt!, and My Butt is So Noisy! is back in a hilarious new story about a silly butt that won’t stop moving! The talented duo of children’s author Dawn McMillan and illustrator Ross Kinnaird have created another delightful, laugh-out-loud tale of a bothersome backside that leads to all kinds of amusing adventures. The fun never stops, from the first page to the last of this newest book in the best-selling series.
About the Author
Dawn McMillan writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and storybooks for children. She is also the author of Woolly Wally and Holy Socks. Dover also publishes her collaborations with illustrator Ross Kinnaird including everyone’s favorite character, the boy with the troublesome backside from bestsellers I Need a New Butt!, I Broke My Butt!, and My Butt is SO NOISY! Additional Dover publications include Doctor Grundy’s Undies and Seagull Sid and the Naughty Things His Seagulls Did! She lives in Waiomu, New Zealand.
About the Illustrator
In addition to his collaborations with Dawn McMillan, Ross Kinnaird has illustrated such children’s books as 50 Body Questions and the animated poem “Smaller,” winner of the People’s Choice Award at the World Parkinson Congress. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
This interview with Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Author Interview, Bathroom Humor, Dawn McMillan, Humorous Books, Illustrator Interview, and Ross Kinnaird.
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