Chris Van Dusen Visits the Main Line!
As you know from our previous post, Chris Van Dusen is one of my favorite authors. I had the honor and the pleasure of meeting Chris Van Dusen this past week when he came to my childrens’ school. He did a wonderful presentation that answered all the questions I ever had about how he started, where his ideas came from and why his new book, Hattie and Hudson, DIDN’T RHYME?
Chris Van Dusen started his career illustrating posters, games and license plates. One day, he had an image of a man and a dog in a boat in a tree. He drew that pictures and looked at if often and started thinking about how that boat got there. That picture led to the first book that he wrote and illustrated: Down the Sea with Mr. McGee. If you haven’t read the books with Mr. McGee and his little dog Dee, get ready for a laugh. So many kids asked him “what’s next?” that he wrote his second book: Camping Spree with Mr. McGee.
His next book was If I Built a Car – a personal favorite. It’s all about all about thinking creatively since Jack doesn’t actually build the car. After, that book he started illustrating the Mercy Watson series. He created 300 paintings for these hilarious beginning reader stories by Kate DiCamillo.
Next was Circus Ship which is his favorite book!!!! Circus ship is my family’s favorite also. It’s sweet and funny and beautifully illustrated. I have read that book to 4-year-olds and 10-year-olds with every eye captivated with the hilarious story and amazing illustrations. Can you find the 15 circus animals?
Mr. Van Dusen went on to write and illustrated; Learning to Ski with Mr. McGee, King Hugo’s Huge Ego, Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit and If I Built a House (another favorite). I admire his use of rhyme to tell hilarious stories. I have read his books over and over and over in the last 8 years and I have not grown tired of them yet.
Chris Van Dusen’s New Book Hattie & Hudson
So, how did Hattie and Hudson come to be? Chris Van Dusen lives in Camden, Maine and while he was growing up, he always thought about a monster in the lake. Originally, Hattie and Hudson was written in rhyme with a boy named Henry as the main character. One day, Mr. Van Dusen woke up and thought “maybe I should make the main character a girl!” Henry became Hattie, but he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the story.
It was the rhyme. This is not a funny story so the rhyme was holding him back. He rewrote the book without the rhyme and realized that was the way the story was supposed to be. How does this book stack up (pun intended)? I love it. This is a sweet and heartwarming story that, at the heart of it, is about unconditional love and understanding. Mr. Van Dusen has an amazing ability to change the style of his illustrations to capture the mood of the book. Hattie, modeled after a family friend, is not as much a caricature of a little girl as an illustra tion of a real child, while Hudson, with his sweet dog-like expressions, and look of wisdom in his eyes, is the friend every child dreams of having.
Have you read it yet? What do you think?Hattie and Hudson by Chris Van Dusen
Published by Candlewick Press on May 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Sports & Recreation, Camping & Outdoor Activities, Social Themes, Friendship, Monsters
Buy on Amazon
A little girl and her colossal friend teach a monster-size lesson about prejudging others in a charming new offering from Chris Van Dusen.
Hattie McFadden is a born explorer. Every morning she grabs her life jacket and paddles out in her canoe to discover something new on the lake, singing a little song on her way. When her singing draws up from the depths a huge mysterious beast, everyone in town is terrified — except Hattie, who looks into the creature’s friendly, curious eyes and knows that this is no monster. So Hattie sneaks out at night to see the giant — whom she names Hudson — and the two become friends. But how can she make the frightened, hostile townspeople see that Hudson isn’t scary or dangerous at all? Chris Van Dusen brings his colorful, perspective-bending artwork to this satisfying new story about acceptance, friendship, and sticking up for those who are different.