Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Speaker Series: William Joyce

William Joyce, children's author/illustrator, gave a great talk on Saturday afternoon basically promoting his latest project.

Joyce is probably most famous for his book and television series Rolie Polie Olie, but at ALA he was talking about his latest series, which will not only be a series of picture books it will also be an animated film. Joyce is working with Dreamworks on the production. The Guardians of Childhood are the stories and mythologies behind some major childhood legends. The characters who are the "Guardians" include Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny (E. Aster Bunny), the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, and the Man in the Moon. They band together to protect the world from their and every child's nemesis, the Boogeyman.

The premise of this picture book series and film is not only precious, but brilliant in my opinion. These are the characters that so many of us grew up believing in -- and for Joyce to want to create and tell the stories of the origins of these characters is truly imaginitive. He said that he wanted to answer the myriad of questions kids ask about the why and how of Santa, the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, etc. that parents just don't have answers to in many cases.

He told endearing stories about painting tiny footprints in his kids' rooms (proof that the tooth fairy entered and exited according to the family's myth) and about digging a hole in the back yard each Easter because how else would a giant bunny travel from house to house leaving baskets for all of the children?!

Joyce also showed a preview of the Guardians film and gave us all a copy the first picture book, The Man in the Moon. It seems like an excellent project and these wandering librarians were certainly impressed by Joyce's ingenuity and his creative comeback (he hasn't published in more than 10 years), mostly, according to him, because he must have been developing these characters. Well done, Mr. Joyce.

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