Annoying ABC

“The hilarity lies in the illustrations – typical Emberley style” – Kirkus

“Hilarious – Delightful” – Amazon, 5 stars

“Terrific” – Publisher’s Weekly – star review

“Awesome” – Kirkus Reviews – Star review

What a complicated book! I probably say that every time I finish a book that I have made more complicated by my own hand than anything else. But this one was complicated to begin with…

It began simply with the idea I would just illustrate a chain of events resulting from a series of kids with alphabetical names annoying each other in a preschool classroom setting, resulting in coming back to the beginning “A” character with the last page. But… when you are the designer/artist , the first thing you see is a chain of annoying events would not domino, or run forward through the book in  typical ABC fashion.

If one kids annoys another, say, Adelaide annoys Baily, why would Baily then annoy Clyde? He would go back to annoy Adelaide… wouldn’t you? If I even sketched the idea of kids annoying each other in a single direction domino effect it just looked cruel; unjustified abuse by abused kids towards innocent kids who then inflicted abuse towards another innocent… it didn’t even make sense visually. It almost made sense when just told in words. Words can portray slightly more abstract notions and get away with it. But in this case, something had to change.

The first thing that had to happen was I had to submit what could be done about it without re-writing the entire book… so I set out to sketch the action trying to imagine how each kid’s actions would reasonably result in the consequent actions depicted in the text. Easier said than done. It took a long time. You have to see the book to get it but the main gambit I employed was accidental or incidental action that set off a new character to do something that would annoy someone new. Sometimes it was a case of mistaken identity, sometimes it was a reaction like laughing that proved more annoying to the victim than the original act. It’s all so much harder to describe than look at….