Picture book, short story and poetic writer, Marg Gibbs, always delights with her endearing, personable and engaging stories for young children, just like Jasper’s Jumbled Up Words, A Very Mapleton Christmas and The Post Office Pup. She has a knack for emanating joy, warmth and giggles that are found in real life adventures of the people, places and animals that are close to her heart. Following her charming collection of poems in Goose at the Gate, Marg has recently released a new junior fiction anthology of fun short stories, riddles and activities – Blue Bucket Cousins – with illustrations by young sisters, Auraillia, 12, and Azulie Von Dayme, 10. Please enjoy the official trailer, and a fascinating interview with the talented illustrators of Blue Bucket Cousins

Tell us a little about yourself and your ages. Have you had any art training?

Auraillia – I’m 12 years with no art training but I started drawing from two. I love reading fantasy novels that are thick. We have a love of animals especially Samoyeds. I’m extroverted in social places and enjoy meeting new people.

Azulie – I’m 10 years old with no formal art training except for school painting and crafts. I love to sing any style besides jazz, metal and rock. Whenever I am not at home, with my friends I am sometimes cheeky, funny in my own way. At home, mum says I am contrary and don’t like doing chores.

How did you meet Marg Gibbs?

We met Marg at the Mapleton country markets and she commented on our great drawings of echidnas. Our Mum, Rheannon talked to her about our various hobbies and interests. Marg mentioned about writing a book for emerging readers and she seemed excited and interested to get us involved.

What does art mean to you?

Auraillia – Creating art for me means entertainment and reflection. It passes time and encourages new thoughts and realisations. Art is important to me and I like the freedom that I have to say what I want through it. Keep creating guys!

Azulie – It’s a relaxing way to escape the world around you.

Tell us about drawing for Blue Bucket Cousins.

Auraillia – I love how it’s improved my drawing skills especially with people.

Azulie – I think it’s fun and I can’t wait to have my work published.

Which illustrations do you like? Which illustrations did you find challenging?

Auraillia  – The action scenes are harder for me. I liked drawing the girl wearing her goggles at the swimming pool in Danger Dog.

Azulie – I find all human drawings challenging and prefer to sketch animals and fantasy dragons. The cover for Race to the Finish was my favourite.

What are your views on being a young illustrator of a kid’s book?

Auraillia – It’s cool and interesting. It’s something new for the next generation of kids to think about.

Azulie – It’s helped me draw better.

What are your hobbies?

Auraillia – Reading, playing my harp and making friends.

Azulie – Singing, feeding the animals and Lego making.

What is the Blue Bucket Cousins about, Marg?

Marg – There are 4 stories or mini books in one edition. At the end of each story, there are jokes, facts and an activity for children ages 6+. It is my hope that emerging independent readers will learn new words, identify with action verbs that are coloured, as well as find interest in the subject matter. From bike chases, pancakes, hide and seek to a real python, spooky spells and dog tricks, younger readers will discover how to stay motivated and busy at home or outdoors.

Race to the Finish starts with a bike and scooter race to the local creek with Sam, Riley and Matilda. Tilly’s blue bucket of treasures comes too. What happens to the bucket when it drifts rapidly down- stream?

Sam and the Secret Ninja Snake tells the story of six year old Sam, warrior Ninja who visits his cousins in the street and encounters a real snake at his Aunty Rachael’s house.

Eli is Spooked captures the cousins dressing up for Halloween, including an unexpected hail storm.

Danger Dog involves eight year old Jesse’s drawing of a dog coming to life. Naturally, there is mystery and mayhem in the house when the family are at school.

Do you have any tips/ advice for emerging young illustrators?

Auraillia – My advice is to stay positive and motivated. Your best friends are the pencil and eraser. Just keep at it.

Azulie –  Listen to the author. Ask for descriptions.

Marg, tell us about the concept for these stories.

Marg – I wanted to write an early readers series with a point of difference. There are many wonderful emerging chapter books in the market on space adventures, school, friendships and magic. I chose 10 cousins who are real. They range in age from 4 to 11 and happen to be my grandchildren. They inspire me with their fun, craziness and energy.

As a self- publisher, did you encounter any challenges?

Marg – Initially I wrote 4 stories that I imagined to be marketed as four individual books. The cost was too high for this, so the designer suggested we incorporate the stories into one bumper collection. It meant a new cover and some adjustments to the back blurb.

Thanks to Marg Gibbs, Auraillia and Azulie for providing this interview for us to share.

Please head to Marg’s website for further details about Blue Bucket Cousins and her other book collections.

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