Happy Book Birthday
by debut Author/Illustrator
(Flamingo / PRH)
Launching a signature style that’s both classic and fresh,
here we have Dragons Love Tacos meets Where the Wild Things Are in this rollicking story about the mishaps of a best friend duo . . .
One of B&N’s
Best Books of 2022
As featured in PW’s round-up:
The On-Sale Calendar: October 2022 Children’s Books
Note: Gela is pronounced Gay-lah and Kalaitzidis, Ka-lights-see-this, sounds like “Can I see this”.
Excerpt from Book Birthday Blog
interview with Erin Dealey:
Q . Since you are the author/illustrator of OZZIE AND PRINCE ZEBEDEE, I’m curious which came first in this project—the illustrations or the characters or the story?
GK: I would say the story came first. I actually wrote and illustrated something similar when I was around 16 years old. It was a longer story about a boy named Hugo who suffered from insomnia and while he was walking around at night, he ran into a dragon and a prince.
Many years later I remembered that story and rewrote it. My critique group helped me see that the heart of the story was with the bickering side characters, and slowly the manuscript evolved to what it is today.
I recently found the illustrations I made as a teenager in my father’s attic. I had completely forgotten how I drew back then, but seeing how much of the story I’ve been carrying around with me all these years was fun. That’s a pretty long production time, from 1989-2022!
Q . Where does Prince Zebedee’s name come from?
GK: My oldest daughter had a friend in kindergarten whose brother was named Zebedee. I’d never heard that name before but it felt perfect for my main character.
I should also mention that Ozzie’s original name was Ozymandias after Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem. And Zebedee’s cute looks are from my Godson. Inspiration comes from everywhere.
Q. How has your career as a movie digital artist (wherein you’ve “made Robert Downey Jr. fly, Brad Pitt age backwards, and sank Johnny Depp in numerous pirate ships…” ) influenced your work as a picture book creator?
GK: When you work with Visual FX for movies you work in a team. You have a client, a director, a supervisor, etc. guiding the shots. From that, I learned that critique is never personal against you, it’s a way to improve and get the best out of your art.
Sometimes I wish I still had a VFX supervisor checking my work on a big movie screen, circling areas to improve with a bright laser-pointer. I guess that’s who my talented agent and editor [here’s a shout out to Margaret Anastas!] are to me now.
Fun fact: Deborah Warren saw Gela’s portfolio at the 2019 SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles. A few days later she joined the agency. It was love at first ART!
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Gela’s Illustrator Highlight
Happy Book Birthday
Illustrated by Germán Blanco
(Genius Cat Books)
From the award-winning team of Karen Kilpatrick and Germán Blanco, this is the first in a humorous and action-packed early graphic novel series for young readers who love fun, adventure, and mystery!
“This is a delightful, cartoonish romp with zany digital illustrations that will have readers begging to know when the promised sequel will be released… Don’t let this book flutter by — read it!“
This outlandish whodunit will keep readers guessing and laughing…all the way to the surprise ending!
P.I. Butterfly books and games develop:
🦋 Analytical and critical thinking 🦋 Observation skills
🦋 Problem-solving skills 🦋 Laughter and fun!
Look for Book 2 soon!