• Ratha Tep

Interview with Diandian, THE BEAR AND THE LITTLE GREEN THING

When the little green thing is dropped from the mouth of a bird, it finds an unexpected home – on the back of a bear. The little green thing just needs to convince the bear to let it stay.

Max's Boat Pick:


THE BEAR AND THE LITTLE GREEN THING

By Diandian

Publisher: Berbay Publishing (May 3, 2022)

Buy now


Can you tell me the origin story behind The Bear and the Little Green Thing?

DD: "At the very beginning of this picture book project, I had images in my head of a giant bear with three saplings on his back. The bear is so enormous that at first, we think we see a mountain—until the moment the bear wakes from his long sleep and starts to move his giant body. What happened to him? What is he going to do with the saplings? So I started to think about the possible story behind these images."



Your illustrations are just stunning! What was your starting point or inspiration? "At that time I was doing a lot of woodblock prints and just become a big fan of this printing technique. The wood texture is so beautiful and has a very poetic touch. The opening spreads of the book was made by woodblock printing."


For those who love The Bear and the Little Green Thing, can you recommend another title that you think they might also enjoy? "Jon Klassen has made a lot of amazing books. His storytelling is so smart, and with such clean, joyful, and thoughtful image-making. For people who like The Bear and the Little Green Thing, I would definitely recommend his Hat Box (I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat)."





Who are some illustrators that you admire for their unique style? "I have to mention the Taiwanese illustrator and author Jimmy Liao. He is a great author and illustrator who has had a big influence on the Chinese-speaking world. I grew up reading his books. Two of my favorites from him are The Blue Stone and Thank You, Furry Bunny, for a Wonderful Afternoon. They are two beautiful stories that talk about loneliness, friendship, and finding something lost in life. Liao’s work is often poetic, lyrical, and sentimental; sometimes these features also appear in my work. He is an author-illustrator who definitely has had a big influence on me.






There are so many other picture book authors I admire a lot, such as Germano Zullo and Albertine. Their storytelling is very poetic, meanwhile very tender and joyful. My favorite ones are Little Bird and My Little One."