Like the characters in Play, Pop, Play, the characters in our new ebook app, Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo, are based on real people. As an artist, I find it helps to imagine someone I know when I am drawing. My brother-in-law, John, is one of the funniest people I have ever met, both in his words, and in his over-the-top gestures! He is the role model for the father in our story. His daughter, Meaghan, (Meg) is a sweet, forgiving girl like the birthday girl in our story. Meaghan’s older sister, Rachel, unfortunately for our purposes, has a name that can’t be easily decoded by beginning readers, so we changed Rachel to Jen. Rachel looks out for her little sister, and sometimes reminds her Dad to settle down if he is getting too enthused.
My early sketches (I am attaching one here) look so simple compared to the final drawings that comprise the book. I try to put many details into each page of art, so that a child reading the book has lots to notice and discuss. Somehow a mischievous cat sneaked into this story too!
Although there are many yo-yo tricks (around the world, side winder, boomerang, and sleeper), none of these are C-V-C (one-syllable, short-vowel) words. The challenge for us in composing Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo was to find a way to show the tricks yet use simple words. Instead of around the world, our book says, “spin the yo-yo.” Instead of side winder, we say “jump the yo-yo.”
Most of us can do the simple up and down motion of a yo-yo unless the string is too long. And THAT is the premise of our book: Dad delays cutting the string so little Meg can’t play with her yo-yo. Maybe I should call this book a memoir. It reminds me of being a little girl, and of having a bigger, taller and smarter brother (or so I thought at the time), who was also a master of the yo-yo. Like the Dad in Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo, my brother would sometimes torment me, showing off his yo-yo prowess, until—SPOILER! I almost away gave the ending. You’ll have to read our latest book to find out what happens!