Interview with Carter Higgins, SOME OF THESE ARE SNAILS
A deceptively simple concept book that explores sorting, classification, and patterns as it teases the brain in unusual ways. Read it once, read it ten times—and see something new every time.
Max's Boat Pick:
SOME OF THESE ARE SNAILS
By Carter Higgins
Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 2, 2023)
Thanks for stopping by again, Carter! Some of These Are Snails really nails what kids are into, from the obsession with snails (my kids have snail races and we have multiple snail hotels in the backyard) to sorting and more. Did you already have it in mind when you were working on Circle Under Berry?
CH: "Early on with Circle Under Berry, it felt really clear that this format was a playful way to explore tricky concepts for preschoolers, both visually and in rhythm. It was such a treat to figure out what that meant exactly, and moving from naming attributes to sorting them in a different way felt perfect. I’ve had this animation in my mind since childhood, and it’s certainly a nod to that."
An interior spread from Some of These Are Snails by Carter Higgins:
I'm in awe of writers who have the courage to attempt illustrating as well. What's your medium? "I use an old library card to scrape cheap acrylic paint onto newsprint, then cut shapes from that paper. My favorite gluesticks are the ones that begin as purple and dry clear. This pile of supplies is certainly familiar to young artists everywhere! After I create all the various assets, I scan them and assemble the page layouts in Photoshop. It’s always important to me to find a good balance of precision and imperfection."
Early sketches and outtakes of Some of These Are Snails by Carter Higgins:
For those who love Some of These are Snails, what else would you recommend and why? "I love the interactivity and accessible art of Greg Pizzoli’s Mister Kitty is Lost! Rilla Alexander’s You Rule! is an enormously fun study in immeasurable things. And for dazzling read-aloud-ability, I am forever charmed by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak’s A Very Special House."
What forthcoming books are you most excited about?
"I’m eagerly anticipating Travis Jonker’s illustrator debut in Just One Flake. His storytelling is always tuned toward the way kids think, act, and exist in this big world. The main character in Just One Flake looks expressive and hilarious, and I can’t wait to root him on!"
What do you think the best picture books do? Is there a book that you think does this particularly well? "The best picture books are keenly aware of the child reader, whether that means speaking their language, honoring the reality of their experiences, or observing with close-up precision what matters to them. Books I love that do one (or more) of these well are Float by Daniel Miyares, I’ll Fix Anthony by Judith Viorst and Arnold Lobel, and The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. I love the way Tana Hoban’s books of photography do the same thing visually, particularly Look Again! and Shadows and Reflections."
What would be on your list of 100 best picture books of all time? "I can’t make a list like that without Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni, A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry and Marc Simont, Fortunately by Remy Charlip, and Clocks and More Clocks by Pat Hutchins."