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My Writing and Reading Life_ Heath McKenzie

My Writing and Reading Life: Heath McKenzie

Heath McKenzie | The Children’s Book Review | May 18, 2015

My Writing and Reading Life_ Heath McKenzie

Heath McKenzie

Heath McKenzie
Photo copyright: Angela Ginsberg

Heath McKenzie has illustrated numerous picture books and children’s book jackets. He lives with his wife and kids in Melbourne, Australia.

Latest published book …

My Rules For Being A Pretty Princess

You wrote it because …

…at the time, my wife and I were expecting our first child and while we chose not to find out the gender early I began wondering about ‘what if’ it’s a little girl. I felt the world was so full of nonsense about body image and beauty myths and gender divides in toy stores with girl aisles and boy aisles and so on, that there’d be so much i’d need to protect her from or prepare her to face. It seems that even just online (let alone in magazines etc) everyday we’re picking over who’s apparently fat and who’s apparently too thin and what is ugly and what is not, miracle diets etc., etc., etc.—all almost entirely aimed at women! As such, slowly the idea for this story began to take shape, a story hopefully teaching little girls that they can be whatever they wanted to be, there’s more to life than just being a pretty princess!

Best moment …

In the story, I’d say my favourite moment (of many!) may just be the first wordless spread where the little girl and Princess wait for a handsome prince to arrive. It, hopefully, perfectly illustrates the quintessential differences between each character without saying a word!

Your special place to write …

I’m afraid I don’t really have a super special place to write—just in the office at home! It is chock full of stuff (books and toys…among other things) so it’s a nice little haven!

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

Walks with the dog. Taking the dog for a walk is often very useful for getting ideas together  and sorting out various plot problems.

Favorite bookshop …

The Little Bookroom is the oldest dedicated children’s bookshop in the world – and fortunately it’s in Melbourne! It’s still going strong after many years because it is pretty awesome!

Currently reading …

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. I’m delving into classics i’ve never read, lately, and can see why they’re regarded as classics!

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write…

Where The Wild Things Are! (Tough question….I could add others, but this is a winner!)

An author you idol …

Oliver Jeffers. Both his writing and illustrating are regular sources of inspiration.

Favorite illustrator …

Benji Davies is someone I’ve just discovered, his work in On Sudden Hill is mighty lovely—wonderful use of colour and shadow set a scene perfectly! The Storm Whale is another wonderful book of his.

A literary character to vacation with …

Hmmm…another excellently tricky question! I’ll say Alice, of Wonderland fame. You know wherever completely normal place you go to holiday won’t be normal for long!

Connect with Heath McKenzie …

heathmck.com | Facebook

My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess By Heath McKenzieMy Rules For Being A Pretty Princess

By Heath McKenzie

Publisher’s Synopsis: Do you really want to be a pretty princess?

Rules are meant to be broken in this laugh-out-loud picture book about staying true to yourself.

One little girl’s greatest wish is to become a princess, but when a beautiful real-life princess overhears and offers to grant her wish by taking the little girl under her wing and showing her what a princess’s life is like, she discovers that the rules of being a royal are not fun at all.

First she has to be laced into a body-squeezing ball gown. Then she has to have her hair painfully pulled and tugged into the perfect royal coiffure.

At the delicious feast, our little princess wants to dig in, but she is chastised to eat daintily. After spending the rest of the day waiting around for a handsome prince to arrive, the little girl decides it is time to make up her own rules…

This delightfully subversive picture book teaches girls to be themselves and to play and use their imaginations with unbridled joy and enthusiasm: clumsy dancing, crazy scribbling, and all.

A triumphant story of understanding one’s self and staying true to who you are no matter what.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | June 2, 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1492615200

Available Here: 

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Discover more picture books like My Rules For Being A Pretty Princessby Heath McKenzie, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with  and be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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