I met Jonathan Auxier at the American Library Association’s conference in New Orleans this summer, where he told me (and a couple other BookPage editors) about his debut novel, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. In the story, Peter Nimble is a blind orphan who is the greatest thief in the world.
When we got back from New Orleans, we checked out the book—and our children’s editor liked it so much, she included a review in our September issue, and an interview with Auxier in the August 10 issue of our children’s e-newsletter. (Head’s up: A new issue is coming out tomorrow, so sign up now if you haven’t already!)
Here’s an excerpt from the interview, conducted by Kevin Delecki, a Library Manager in Ohio who has also served on the Caldecott Book Award Committee.
Kevin Delecki: Tells us about the world Peter Nimble finds himself in after discovering the Fantastic Eyes.
Jonathan Auxier: Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes takes place in a moment of history when the lines between magic and science were being blurred. Strange, exotic lands were being discovered and becoming known—but with that comes a loss of mystery. The central metaphor in the book is that of a half-finished map: the moment a new island or country gets charted by cartographers, it becomes reduced in some indefinable way . . . and that’s sad. In the story, I wanted to take that map metaphor and make it literal. So when Peter Nimble sets out for uncharted waters, he finds himself in a place where the rules of logic and science still don’t apply—a place where the impossible is still possible.
If you click over to the interview, you’ll see an illustration from Peter Nimble (drawn by Auxier). Also: If you’re interested in art and graphics, you’ll be fascinated by a recent blog post from Abrams designer Chad Beckerman (who makes a guest appearance in this interview with Margi Preus) on the evolution of the Peter Nimble cover. Ever wondered how your favorite book jackets came to be? Now you’ll have a better idea of that process.
What children’s books have been capturing your imagination lately? Will you read Peter Nimble? It’s on sale now.