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“Everyone - from publishing pros to parents and would-be parents - loved the dummy. It really was only a matter of finding the time to do the finished illustrations and pull the whole thing together.
“A number of decisions went into designing the book. First was the use of the flaps to help move the action. When I was a kid I loved books that had pop ups, pull tabs, or special flaps you could turn or lift. Beyond reading, it allowed you to ‘play’. The second was the size. I wanted it to fit comfortably in little hands, under pillows, in backpacks. I wanted it to feel scaled to the reader. And third was handling the illustrations. I’ve worked in a number of styles, from the black and white loose inkiness of the daily strip cartoon to the semi-realism of the graphic novel. For Maynard, I wanted the drawings to feel soft, like a flannel "blankie". For that I used a very ‘toothy’ paper, watercolor washes, marker, and colored pencil. Although the darwings seem simple, the process of combining all those mediums into each little picture was actually quite arduous. But I got the look I wanted, so the decision was a good one.
Maynard May Not is a fun little look at one morning in the life of Maynard, a typical toddler with a mind of his own, who may or may not do as his mother asks. Will Maynard eat his breakfast? Maynard may . . . and Maynard May not! Will Maynard clean his room? Maynard may . . . and Maynard may not! The reader will have to turn the flap to find out what Maynard does!
She wrote the book in 1996 for her son, Guyon, who was then three years old, and constructed a dummy with just rough pencil drawings so she could submit the concept to various publishers. But before she could complete sample illustrations, her first book, The Artist’s Model, was accepted for publication, and Maynard was shelved. Still, she went on to teach Guy to read using just the black and white dummy, which excited him and held his attention despite it being unfinished. He was reading well above his level by the time he was in kindergarten, thanks to a little dummy book on copy paper held together by a rubber band.
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