The Children’s Book Review | December 12, 2017
Bob Staake has authored and/or illustrated over 50 books, including Bluebird, which received three starred reviews; My Pet Book; The Donut Chef; and Look! a Book! The New York Times named Staake’s The Red Lemon one of the ten best illustrated books of the year. And you get to take a peek inside his art studio …
Inside Bob Staake’s Studio
Knowing that a small 100+-year-old carriage house on our Cape Cod home was in disrepair, in 2004 I began designing a studio to replace it. I wanted to retain the same 12’ x 18’, but since I needed more space I designed it so the building had both a full basement and a loft. Since the studio is just 300 feet from the ocean, tourists walking by will often stop to take photos of it – especially when the bubble machine in the loft window is running.
Bob Staake’s Creative Process
I have no set creative “process” when it comes to creating my children’s books. Sometimes I’ll start out with a story while seeing the images in my mind (The Red Lemon), other times I’ll come up with a title for a book and a very specific cover (The Book Of Gold), and that imagery will suggest a certain plot line that I build upon with my writing. Once I get to the point where I can start marrying the text to pictures, I’ll sketch out the spreads, and in doing so I find out what is working (in terms of both story and imagery), what isn’t, and then improve things as I go along. On The Book Of Gold I wrote 25 versions of the manuscript before I settled on the final story. I also created 32 different concept sketches for the cover, though at the end of the day I went back to my original depiction of the hero of the story, Issac Gutenberg, gazing up at the title and the New Yok Public Library glowing in gold.
Written and Illustrated by Bob Staake
Publisher’s Synopsis: Award-winning illustrator Bob Staake (Bluebird and The Red Lemon) brings us an emotionally rich picture book about a boy who discovers that the search for knowledge is more important than knowledge itself.
Young Isaac Gutenberg isn’t a curious boy . . . that is, until he meets an old shopkeeper who tells him about The Book of Gold. This special book, hidden somewhere in the world, holds all the answers to every question and turns to solid gold when opened.Isaac is determined to find the book—it will make him rich! He opens many books in his search, but quickly closes them when they don’t turn to gold. That changes one day when he opens a book, looks at the page, and a question pops into his mind. From then on, he reads every word.
Time passes and Isaac ages, but he still scours dusty attics and flea markets, crisscrossing the world, searching for The Book of Gold. This sweeping picture book asks important questions: Is searching for knowledge better than having it? How important is curiosity? And what makes a life meaningful?
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0553510775
Discover more books like “The Book of Gold,” written and illustrated by Bob Staake, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our articles tagged with Bob Staake and Picture Book. And be sure to check out more authors and illustrators featured in our Inside the Studio column.