Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 29, 2021

BOOK GIVEAWAY: WHEN I’M NOT LOOKING by Farren Phillips

Farren Phillips has written and illustrated a new picture book, WHEN I’M NOT LOOKING, published by Yeehoo Press. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you need to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Leave me a note in the comment section to let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can award you the right amount of tickets.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Farren.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday,  I will give you an extra ticket. Please let me know with the comment. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A combination of humorous detective story, fun fill-in-the-blanks, and laugh-out-loud details.
Legs isn’t quite sure what her pet duck gets up to when she’s not looking. Is her duck dressing like a knight and fighting dragons, starting an army of ducks, building a rocket, and even trying on Leg’s best trousers?
Young readers will love joining Legs on her quest to solve the mystery, with their detective skills, creative thinking and imagination.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Growing up I always loved books I could interact with; one of my favourite memories as a kid was my dad reading me and my brother’s picture books and playing i-spy with the busy pages. It made story time into a game, and a bonding experience for me and my family. When I decided to become a picture book author and illustrator, I wanted to create stories that could give other families a similar experience!

When I’m Not Looking was originally written a few years back as a project at university, and since then, it’s been revised a number of times. The very first version of the story was a lot more surreal, Legs as a character was wearing a large box over her head in which you could only see her legs (hence her wacky name), and the story was called Paraducks back then (as a pun on the word paradox). I have always been interested in philosophy and a number of books I worked on prior to this one have had philosophical themes, because children are natural born philosophers always full of questions about the world. When I started working on this book I was particularly interested in Schrödinger’s cat. The idea that while inside the deadly box, the cat can be considered both alive and dead, got me thinking about how we can’t really prove that anything is or is not happening when we aren’t observing it. Similarly to the idea that if a tree falls in the forest, we can’t prove it makes a sound if no one is around to hear it. This concept fascinated me and I was excited to create a book around the idea, that’s how When I’m Not Looking was formed in its barest bones. Taking the surreal concept, I applied funny and wacky scenarios and produced a story about a little girl who thinks outside the box and is suspicious of all the things that her pet duck COULD be doing when she isn’t watching. The bonus joke being that while she is focusing on the duck, she is missing her pet cat in the background, who is actually up to the suspicious deeds.

The story is choc-a-block full of very busy scenes inside Leg’s house, with toys scattering the floors, drawings and stains on the walls, and half finished experiments and games shoved around every available surface. I noticed that in a lot of picture books that take place in the home, the imagery often depicts quite clean and beautiful middle class houses, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But I made it a big aim with this story to create imagery that felt more real to the kind of houses I know, houses that aren’t perfect but are lived in, and tell lots of stories. If you or someone you know has small children and lots of pets, it’s likely they have a nightmare of a time keeping the place tidy 24/7 (young children are a whirlwind!), and I think it’s fun to represent that struggle in the imagery. The rooms are a mess of clutter, but when you look closely you can spot all the exciting things Legs has been up to and learn more about her as a person, you can see the games she’s been playing and the situations she’s set up, it’s much more exciting to look at than somewhere clean and spotless. It also gives the reader the opportunity to linger on the pages for a while and find things they might have missed before, making re-reads of the story a lot more fun.

The other interactive elements of the story involve the reader or listener adding their own ideas to the book. This wasn’t a feature in the original book concept, but something that came a little later. I wasn’t sure how it would work out at first, the idea of getting children to draw and write inside the book, I was rather worried it would make repeat readings a problem. The pages are printed with a matt finish so that the boxes can be filled in with pencil and rubbed out over and over, and I feel it actually makes the re-usability of the story even stronger! Every parent knows the struggle of having to read the same book every night for the month once the little one has picked a favourite, having aspects of the story that can be changed again and again means that the story gets a fresh repaint with every read and stays funny for much longer. Also when the child out-grows the story, the book can be kept as a cute keepsake with their childhood drawings and ideas inside.

When I’m Not Looking is really close to my heart and I had a brilliant time making it, and it’s my first book published in the English language (I’ve had a couple previously published in Chinese and Spanish).  I’m now working on a series of funny and interactive history books that should come out next year, which I’m also very excited about as it’s my first time working on non-fiction work!

FARRIN’S BIO:

My name is Farren Phillips and I am an Author/Illustrator with a passion for making people laugh. When not at my desk I work at my local library, sharing my flare for wacky decor and an arsenal of silly Storytime voices. I love to travel, dress up in funny costumes, and make weird puppets in my spare time.

I’ve always been a storyteller and my illustrations often lead into a narrative. Humour is a primary subject in my work but I also feel strongly about philosophy and frequently use morals and ethics as themes in my stories.

Setting, character design and detail are often big factors in my illustration and you can usually find me on the floor playing with everything from pens to collage. My goal is to work on both picturebooks and reading books for children, and to create lovable characters and hilarious heartfelt stories that will stay in the readers hearts until long into adulthood.

Farren, thank you for sharing you book and journey with us. I love that you came up with a detective picture book that will help children become creative thinkers and inspire their imaginations. The book looks like so much fun. Your illustrations definitely add to the fun. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. this looks so fun and full of adventure

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow I love this! What an original concept. Can’t wait to read the book — and solve the mystery. (I’m also a subscriber.)

    Like

  3. This book sounds unique and the interactive part is appealing to me as I love discussing the books while reading–asking my kids questions about the story and their opinions. I’m an email subscriber and shared on social:

    Like

  4. What a fun book for kids… and adults! Congrats!

    Like

  5. As someone who’s interested in science, I’d love to see the more surreal version, LOL. This sounds quite engaging!

    Like

  6. I love the character and the clutter. Your book looks like a lot of fun to read out loud and linger on each page!

    Like

  7. I saw this post in the blog email newsletter. This looks like a very clever and unique picture book! I would love a copy to inspire me! I’m in love with very detailed illustrations that make reading a new adventure every time. Congrats on this fun book!

    Like

  8. Love it! The whole idea of this book cracks me up. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1409984933397860353, and shared an image on Pinterest with a link too: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772159680105/
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!

    Like

  9. This one looks like a LOT of fun. Thanks for telling me about it. I follow your blog by email.

    Like

  10. I already have this book, so I’m not entering the giveaway. But I can confirm that Duck’s imagined escapades are delightful!

    Like

  11. What a fascinating premise for a PB…with a touch of sophisticated sleuthing tucked in! I enjoyed learning of the twists and turns the story took on its way to publication! Kathy, I am a subscriber to your fun and informative blog!

    Like

  12. Your book is brilliant! I’m looking forward to holding a hard copy and pouring over the illustrations.
    (subscriber)

    Like


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