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  • Ratha Tep

Interview with Yiting Lee, WHAT'S THE RUSH?

Bunny and Turtle are the best of friends, but they are very different from each other! Bunny is all action, while Turtle is a thoughtful planner. When Bunny and Turtle decide to climb a mountain together, Bunny is eager to get going. But Turtle wants to take it slow and prepare for the trip. Will Bunny become impatient? Will Turtle's planning pay off?

Max's Boat Pick:


By Yiting Lee

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (October 18, 2022)

Welcome onboard, Yiting! I'd love to know the origin story behind What's the Rush?

YL: "The two characters Bunny and Turtle are originally inspired by my beloved parents. I came up with the idea for the book during a time period when I moved back to live with them. Being an adult, I tried not to look at them as my parents, but just as two adults trying to get along in life. They are very different, but they find their way to tolerate each other, and at the same time be inspired by the other, too! From observing them, I see there’s no good or bad personality; it only depends on how you look at it. That’s where the story came from!"

Early sketches of What's the Rush?:

Upon reading the book, I couldn't help but see myself in Bunny! I'm absolutely always in a rush, and always trying to scurry my kids along. Who are you?

"Now you know I was raised by Bunny and Turtle! So I feel I got a bit of both. My nature is quite spontaneous, but my Turtle dad is always at my back reminding me of all the things I should bring (and all the things I probably don’t need). So I am a hybrid!"

An interior spread from What's the Rush?:

Fairy tales are certainly having their moment. There are SO many modern retellings just out, from Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen's The Three Billy Goats Gruff to Jed Alexander's Gold, Davide Cali and Marianna Balducci’s Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf, and of course, your sweet book. I'm curious how you decided to go with an already well-known storyline?

"It's actually quite interesting that when I wrote the story, I never thought of it as a retelling of

Aesop's tale until I read the book blurb from the publisher. But I love it. I am happy to see how the story is coming into people’s hands, and how they have their interpretation."

What are some new or forthcoming books you're looking to getting your hands on? "Of course Wally the World's Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat is on my list. I'm also interested in getting Paul Nash: Designer and Illustrator by James King, and Drawing for Illustration by Martin Salisbury."


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