De Amerikaanse Olivier Dunrea is bekend als geestelijke vader van het schattige roodgelaarsde gansje Gonnie (waarover intussen een hele reeks is verschenen bij Gottmer). Van 25 februari tot en met 2 maart is hij in België. Hij komt hier al sinds 1972 en het blijkt één van z’n favoriete Europese landen te zijn, mede dankzij Kuifje. De ideale gelegenheid dus om hem de volgende vragen te stellen: welke Amerikaanse kinderboeken moeten Belgische kinderen zeker lezen (1) en hoe kwam Gonnie tot stand (2)?
(1) “One of the best and most wonderful pictures books for children that I think children in Belgium would love is STELLALUNA by Janell Cannon. This book is beautifully illustrated and teaches a lesson in diversity with the sweetest baby bat and a nestful of baby birds!”
“A second book for older children (and illustrated) is: CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E. B. White. This is one of the most important children’s books ever published in the U.S. I love this book with all my heart. It is one of my all time favorites. In fact, in the newest book to be published as part of the Gossie & Friends series I pay homage to Charlotte and Wilbur on the copyright page illustration!”
(2) “Gossie came into existence when a friend bought a pair of tiny red boots for one of our very small chihuahuas. I was drawing geese and goslings at the time and did a quick sketch of a gosling wearing the red boots. The picture was humorous and I wrote a story to go with it and sent it to my editor in Boston at Houghton Mifflin. Her 4 year old daughter loved the rough sketches and story so much my editor offered a contract for the book!
I told her that I planned to do an entire gaggle of goslings and that’s how the series started. All 13 goslings were outlined at the very beginning back in 2000! I am working on the final 5 books in the series at the moment. All the goslings will be introduced to readers by next year.
I just finished the next two books in the Gossie & Friends series: GEMMA & GUS and GUS. I think these two are now my favorite goslings. Gemma is the big sister, Gus is the little brother.
Here’s a sneak peek at the characters:”