Publishers' Preview: Picture Books: Five Questions for Greg Pizzoli

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2017 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.


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Greg Pizzoli’s merrily madcap The 12 Days of Christmas updates the classic holiday song with a cast of leaping frogs, dancing cats, and…an elephant family? And a partridge in a pear tree, of course.

1. Why elephants?

Elephants are my favorite animals to draw! They are immediately recognizable using even just a few lines, and they can be really expressive and humanlike…particularly when they stand on two legs and live in houses. Practically every book I’ve made has started as a book about an elephant, and through the sketching process the characters end up changing to dogs, cats, crocodiles. Elephants finally made the cut for The 12 Days of Christmas.

2. The jacket tells us that your wife wants a pear tree for Christmas. Are you making that happen?

We live in a twelve-foot-wide row home in central Philadelphia, so a pear tree would be as much out of place as twelve pigs with drums or eleven rabbits with flutes or…a whole mess of birds. I’ll get her something nice.

3. Which of the twelve presents would you like best?

I would choose the five golden rings. Are pawn shops open on Christmas?

4. Do you lie awake worrying whether you really got all seven swans a-swimming in every picture where they belong?

I did, until I got the final books and double-checked every spread. There was actually a spot where I missed the crocodile floaty that one of the swans has — but luckily we caught it in proofs and the final book should be perfect.

5. Did I make you get up and check?

I just did — they’re all there! Merry Christmas!


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