Cover Reveal of Bing! Bang! Chugga! Beep! by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson, presented in partnership with Brown Books Kids and The Children’s Book Review.
We will never run out of gas to toot the horn for wonderful new books like Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson’s Bing! Bang! Chugga! Beep!
Just wait until you see the cheerful collage art cover, created by Nathalie Beauvois, for the sing-along read-aloud Bing! Bang! Chugga! Beep! Your kiddos will want to take this vibrant picture book for a spin pronto. Get ready to (happily) jump into the storytime driver’s seat to read and sing this book over and over again to the catchy, classic tune of “This Old Man.” Available on April 25, 2023. Pre-Order Now.
Author and Illustrator Interview
Michael, this book is an absolutely delightful sing-along read-aloud! I notice that following Armadillo Antics and Ten Little Squirrels with Brown Books Kids, this is the first that is penned to the tune of a song. Why the switch-up and is there a reason you’ve chosen to frame the words of the book within the tune of “This Old Man”?
Michael Sampson: Many of the books that Bill Martin Jr and I write are poetry and most can be sung. We believe that rhyme and rhythm open the gate to reading so we do this on purpose. As a kindergarten teacher, I noticed that the children LOVED singing “This Old Man”! And I did too. Thus, it was a natural song we could borrow the rhythm from while writing about totally different content.
Nathalie, of the many models of car you could have chosen for the main car featured in this book, how did you come up with the idea/details/colors for the one you created?
Nathalie Beauvois: I sure made sketches of many different cars — tried with racing cars, more classical models, and even “concept” cars from my own creation. It was hard to choose but one thing that helped me a lot was to envision the different scenes of the book — how the car would play along with the landscapes and the tone of the book.
For the color scheme, I decided to use mostly primary bold colors. I think they have quite a visual impact and went great in contrast with the color map of the rest of the book. I chose to draw a vintage model but gave it some playful racing car traits. I figured that despite being “old” this car would love to show off its racing car heart!
Michael, every verse/page of this book is adorable for children but even as an adult, I especially enjoy the verse: “This old car, it goes beep, wakes the neighbors from their sleep … ” Those pesky kids — I’m sure I was probably one of them. Is there a “secret ingredient” that goes into making a book that is fun for both the child and the adult reading? Do you have a favorite verse in here, perhaps tied to a memory of your own?
Michael Sampson: You are right. It’s true that we are writing for parents and teachers, as well as for children. When both adults and kids love a story, I know we will have a “winner.” Secret ingredient? It just “comes to us” as part of the writing process, often out of the blue. And when it happens, we write it down and it becomes a part of the book.
Nathalie, your collage-style illustrations have been raved about and compared to those of the legendary Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert by many publications including The New York Times! Was this an intended comparison? Could you tell us how you’ve managed to differentiate your artwork while still, in a way, paying tribute to these long-time illustrators of Bill and Michael’s books?
Nathalie Beauvois: As in the previous books, the choice of using the collage style was intentional, so there was a visual link to other books written both by Michael and Bill Martin. But of course, even if I´m influenced and greatly nourished by the art of such great names as Carle and Ehlert, I have developed and built my own style.
I have a tendency to paint with thick paint; I work my acrylics almost as if they are oil colors, which results in more relief in the textures created. I also use paper of different weights, sometimes even cardboard. So I think that the overall result is more loaded and has a deep texture. Another aspect of my illustrations is that I make use of some subtle digital editing, not only to fix things but also to add small details here and there.
Michael, you and Bill Martin Jr have a characteristic style to the rhythm and rhyme structure of your beloved collection. (Is it over 40 books together now?) Can you describe for us how that came about?
Michael Sampson: The model came out of the early works and collaboration of Bill Martin Jr and Peggy Brogan and it works so well that we continue to use it.
Nathalie, your illustrations lift a child’s imagination off the page, and at one point, quite literally into the sky — which I love! In your own words, could you describe for us how you try to make your illustrations contribute to the fun and playful tone of the writing?
Nathalie Beauvois: I chose to work with a very brightly colored palette which I thought matched very well to the joyful tone of the text, more so than using shades and hues. I used contrasting block colors and clearly defined shapes which I think gives the illustration a high happy tone.
Michael, would you say that the clever boy is a depiction of both you and Bill as children? What aspects of the boy and his imaginative world do you think came from your own experience?
Michael Sampson: You are right! Just as Bill was the little boy in “The Ghost Eye Tree,” I am the little boy with the favorite toy car in this story. In fact, I still have that little car today!
Nathalie, there is a fun twist in this book (which I won’t spoil for readers) where we find out a hidden truth about the car that we’ve been following from page to page. Was it a challenge for you to illustrate up to the clever reveal without giving away the secret? Did you leave any easter eggs/clues along the way?
Nathalie Beauvois: I love putting a twist on the stories I illustrate, no matter how small. In this case, it somehow became central to the story. While illustrating the first half of the book, I kept in mind how things would unfold so as not to reveal the ending but at the same time adding details that tie the whole story together, and yes, we do have an observant little character peeking here and there throughout the book.
Michael, I have to ask, I’m sure the audience is aware that Bill Martin Jr passed away back in 2004. And yet, you continue to release picture books together. How does this work? Can we expect to see several more of these published from the two of you in the coming years? What’s next?
Michael Sampson: Bill left Manhattan for a house he built beside mine in Texas in 1993. For 11 years, we wrote every morning with pleasure and excitement. With Bill’s passing, there were 30 or more unpublished manuscripts left in my hands. I have been releasing them gradually since 2004. I know Bill is smiling somewhere at the beautiful art and the wonderful reception our books are receiving.
Michael and Nathalie, I always enjoy the fact that you include wheels at the end. The one in this book is not with facts, but instead with different types of vehicles. Did you both have a favorite toy vehicle (like any of those pictured) while growing up? If so, please describe it.
Nathalie Beauvois: I remember that one of my most cherished toys by far was legos. Once my parents gave me a set that had little wheels and vehicle-building pieces so I spent hours building different types of very sophisticated vehicles, both terrestrial and aerial.
Michael Sampson: I did have a favorite toy car — a model T. But even more fun is that the 1057 Chevy pictured as a classic car at the end of the book was my first car at age 16! Big thanks to Nathalie for painting it!
About the Book
Publisher’s Book Summary: Bing! Bang! Chugga! Beep! is the latest charming tale from rhyming pair Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson. This old car has been everywhere from the backyard to the sky, from the hills to the water. Bouncing between the mud in the ground and the clouds up high, the old car is loved by a clever young boy, just as readers will love this singsong story from an iconic children’s author duo.
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About the Co-Author
BILL MARTIN JR was the beloved author of more than 300 books for children and teachers, including the classics Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, which was illustrated by his friend Eric Carle, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
Bill was elected to the Reading Hall of Fame by the International Literacy Association. The Bill Martin, Jr Picture Book Award, which is the Kansas State award for best children’s picture book, was established in his name in 1996. Bill wrote Armadillo Antics with Michael Sampson when he moved to Texas in honor of the fun, inquisitive creatures that roamed the woods outside his house.
Visit Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson’s website at billmartinjr.com.
About the Co-Author
MICHAEL SAMPSON taught kindergarten through fourth grade before meeting fellow literacy expert Bill Martin Jr at a conference in Tucson, Arizona in 1978. They established a lifelong friendship and collaborated on many bestselling and award-winning books for children, including Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Sampson often speaks at schools, book festivals, and literacy conferences, where he is known for his high-energy, entertaining performances. Dr. Sampson is a Fulbright Scholar and a professor of literacy at St. John’s University in New York City.
Visit Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson’s website at billmartinjr.com. You can also follow Michael on Twitter and Instagram @michaelsampson.
About the Illustrator
NATHALIE BEAUVOIS has a graphic design background in advertising and has also studied industrial design. Nathalie started her career in the art departments of ad agencies and eventually transitioned into freelance illustrating.
Since then, she has illustrated dozens of books including Armadillo Antics and Ten Little Squirrels. She’s contributed artwork to hundreds of magazines in countries all over the world. Her creations always start the traditional way — with paper and pencil. Depending on the visual task at hand, she mixes in techniques such as watercolor, collage, vector drawing and Photoshop coloring and texturizing. When not playing with the antics of armadillos, she is happily living and working in Argentina with her family.
Visit her website at nathaliebeauvois.weebly.com.
Learn More at Brown Books Kids:
Discover more books like Bing! Bang! Chugga! Beep!, by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Cars, Cover Reveal, Picture Book, Rhyming Text, Sing-a-long Book, and Things That Go Books.