Time for an Interview with Dave Hackett

Time goes by quickly, and it’s already nearly time for another celebrated event – Father’s Day! We are super excited to hold another treasured picture book in the ‘Time for…’ series in our hands, as we embark on an adventure into cherishing all the wonderful things about our Dads.

‘At a time where our world has been turned upside down and movement restricted, quality family-time outdoors is more precious than ever,’ says Hackett.

Time for Adventure, Daddy by Dave Hackett is a timely, fun and relatable book, the third in the hilarious series. It’s all about taking whatever opportunities you have to spend time with your family and share moments, make memories, and bond with one another. The relationship between Daddy and his little girl in the book is absolutely gorgeous, with the young one taking the control to get a busy, excuse-filled big one out exploring. Through its amusing dialogue, the pair organise for a hefty-sized picnic in the outdoors, with Daddy’s delightfully childish discoveries along the way (including making friends with an earthworm named Albert!). Hackett’s bright and colourful cartoon-style illustrations fit the bill brilliantly with its ‘big sunny day’ theme and amusing role-reversal playfulness. Time for Adventure, Daddy is a book full of sunshine that daddies and kids will smile through on this adventure, and adventures of their own.

Published and supplied by UQP.

We are also delighted to welcome talented, and funny, author – illustrator, Dave Hackett to our blog for a special interview to talk about his adorable ‘Time for…’ series! 🙂

 

Congratulations on the release of another exciting book in the series – Time for Adventure, Daddy!

Thanks! I’m not-so-secretly super excited!

 

Has the entire series been planned out from the beginning or has each title arisen more spontaneously?

The series began with Time for Bed, Daddy, which just happened all by itself. It was when I submitted the manuscript for Time for School, Daddy, that my publisher and I had that moment of “Hmmm… series…?”. So I sat myself down and made a list of all the possible titles I could think of (I then whittled it down to about twenty decent ones). Oh, and fun fact – on the contract, it was called “Time for ______ (title to be decided)”, because I actually submitted two manuscripts (with the other manuscript in first place until the page layouts for both were drawn). We made a last minute decision to go for “Adventure”.

 

Which comes first to your mind – the illustrations or the words? Which role is harder – author or illustrator?

I’m 24 books along now, and from one book to another, it really just depends on the project. But with the Time for… series, the words always come first. Once the title is in my head, I think of a rough idea for how the story might play out, and then start scribbling away at the drawings. Once I’ve banged out a handful of roughs, I then work on what becomes a pretty loose version of the final manuscript. With that in place, I get to roughing out all the illustrations so that I can see what it might look like as a whole – and that’s usually where the BIG changes happen. It’s a super fun process – I love it!

And which role is harder? I can tell you which of my cats throughout my life I have liked the most (he was a giant fatso called Tinker), but drawing and writing – these are two of my great passions, so even though they require a lot of effort, neither one is ever hard work (although hand-painting the pages… that’s work!!!).

 

What does fatherhood mean to you? What’s the greatest adventure you’ve had with your own kids?

Wow – big question! Okay… Fatherhood. I really believe that if you love your kids with all you have, that’s really the most important part taken care of. With four children, fatherhood is a BIG part of my everyday. To me it means being present for your kids – in all the ways in which you can be, and being constant and stable and ready for whatever comes next. It means being someone your small humans can rely on, someone they can always turn to and someone they can trust. Fatherhood is teaching them to be kind and good, to laugh at themselves and to love all of the things that make them uniquely them. And a whole lot of it is about playfulness and fun. Sooooo much fun. (Note to new parents – it’s also fun when they all go to bed. Or school. Or to Grandma’s house. Because sanity is a thing too).

And what’s the greatest adventure I’ve had with my own kids? All of it. The good, the bad, the wonderful, the falling over and skinning knees, the sleepless nights, the tiny moments, the smiles, the outrageous laughter… and being together. It’s impossible to separate any of that. It’s a big, lumpy package deal.

 

What is your favourite part of Time for Adventure, Daddy? Why?

I’m a BIG fan of SparkleScream, the cat. (He’s actually named after a real SparkleScream, that my wife and daughter and I saw on a “lost cat” notice, in North Carolina a few years back). I love the part when Daddy finds Albert the worm and wants to bring him along, and I love when Daddy’s big pile of sticks and leaves gets too heavy for him, and the little girl (in a very wise, parent-ish way) just ditches them behind a tree and they keep moving. Love it.

 

What tips can you give aspiring writers and illustrators on creating a series? What to do and what not to do?

Step one (and this is an important one): Find a publisher who is willing to sign you to a second and third book, featuring the same characters! That’s really the key to it. But seriously, one piece of advice I would have is to keep the characters relatable. If the reader can relate to the characters, either by seeing themselves or their children or people they know in the characters, you’re home and hosed. And let’s keep away from violence, generally, and try to fill our kids’ heads with positive things, shall we?

 

Will there be another title in this series? What can you reveal for all your fans?

I’m going to say, that as a writer or an illustrator, until you have that talk with your publisher, and more to the point until there is a signed contract, you are mostly just hoping that the answer is yes. Having said that, there are a number of ideas for the next instalment, some inside adventures, some outside adventures, but all of them experiences that both we and our children will be able to relate to and have fun with!

       

Thank you, Dave, for answering my questions! 😊

DAVE HACKETT is an artist, cartoonist, author and dad who divides his time between the Sunshine Coast and the South of France with the nicest lady on the planet (to whom he is also married). He owns a share in two more cats than he planned for, often paints huge pictures on the walls of his house and knows more about 1980s music than any grown man should. Dave loves to put down his pens and walk about in nature, and thinks that every day is a big, giant adventure! Time for Adventure, Daddy is his twenty-second book.

More Father’s Day Book Reviews

Following on from Kellie’s terrific Father’s Day round-up of cute books for dads, we’ve added a couple more to the list – one sweet, the other fiery! Happy Father’s Day and Special Person’s Day to all! 🙂

Up to Something, Katrina McKelvey (author), Kirrili Lonergan (illus.), EK Books, May 2019

So clever! A book full of hidden surprises, both in the narrative and in the illustrations! A book about teamwork and collaboration; which is exactly the way this creative author and illustrator pair – Katrina McKelvey and Kirrili Lonergan – have brought their talents together to produce something wonderful.

Billy longs to work with his Dad in his shed with all his tool-wielding, building tasks. But protective Dad suggests Billy be his assistant instead. Rather, Billy has his own ideas, and as it turns out, a talent for construction, too! I love the determined, playful and energetic attitude emanating from the text as McKelvey crafts her characters, their relationship, and the idea of endless possibilities. Lonergan brings more life and encouragement for future creative prospects to the viewers’ eyes with her subtle inclusion of collaged sheet music and newspapers (which, for discerning readers will uncover some further language opportunities).

Up to Something is a combination of resourcefulness, potential, synergy, and love – all the right materials needed to build up connections between children and their special person this Father’s Day.

My Dad is a Dragon, Damon Young (author), Peter Carnavas (illus.), UQP, August 2019

The ever-so-popular family series, including My Nanna is a Ninja, My Pop is a Pirate, My Mum is a Magician, etc, is back again just in time for Father’s Day with the ‘rip-roaring’ title, My Dad is a Dragon by the indominable duo, Damon Young and Peter Carnavas.

There are fun and smart, strong and savvy, creative and daring dads-a-plenty in this witty collection of fathers and their useful (and not-so-useful) skills and special belongings. I love the specific detail Young identifies to appeal to his early years’ audience, including ‘pointy pencils for designing busy bridges’, ‘special suits to stop bees from stinging’, and ‘Some dads yell ‘Yow!’ stepping on spiky blocks.’ Then every so often the narrator refers to her own dad as ‘a dragon’ because of his ‘fiery’ behaviour and not-so-apt things that dads do (which seems often to involve being greedy and burning things!). Carnavas is cunning, callous and absolutely hilarious with what he brings to the illustrations; providing non-stop laugh-out-loud moments showing dads in all their somewhat flawed glory that makes them so laughable… I mean, loveable. But at the heart of these amusing wisecracks, is the heart of dads and their unconditional, well-intentioned love they have for their children.

My Dad is a Dragon is a smoking hot gift to share with dads all year round.

Thanks to UQP for a complimentary copy of My Dad is a Dragon in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews by Romi Sharp.

Father’s Day Book Reviews

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I thought it fitting to review two cute new picture books designed specifically to celebrate Dads – yet in two very different ways!

If kids are looking for a sweet, heartfelt picture book to give Dad and remind him of how much he means to them, it’s hard to go past There’s Only One Dad Like You. Written and illustrated by the talented Jess Racklyeft, the book is a companion to last year’s There’s Only One Mum Like You title, also published by Affirm Press.

This tender, rhyming text notes the many different ways a father can bring meaning and fun to a child’s world, whether as hero, friend, guide, creator, builder, chef, fixer of all that is broken, or other role. I’m a huge fan of award-winning Racklyeft’s artwork, and this picture book is no exception. Her stunning watercolour pictures in many bright colours bring the meaningful text to life. She uses a range of different animal characters to illustrate each activity, too.

This is an engaging picture book perfect to read with little ones on Father’s Day, and as a tribute to fathers for all they do year long. The book also works well as a beautiful gift for a new dad or a busy, overwhelmed father.

Please note: Affirm Press provided a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

If it’s a humorous title you’re after to have a giggle about as a family this Father’s Day, check out My Dad Snores, published by Puffin Books (Penguin Australia). Upon pulling the review copy of the book out of its packaging, I immediately knew it was illustrated by the wonderful, award-winning Peter Carnavas.

Pete’s work is distinctive and I can spot his gorgeous illustrations a mile away. He brings his wry sense of humour, excellent character studies, and relatable artwork to the forefront here as illustrator. The watercolour and pencil artworks bring a typically Australian family to life in a humorous way that pairs perfectly with the text by iconic singer-songwriter John Williamson.

The story takes Williamson’s song about a Dad who snores and puts it into picture book format, in a way that children and other parent buyers will giggle at when they recognise the snoring father in their lives. Since Williamson is known around the world for his “True Blue” Aussie stories, I loved seeing Carnavas bring Australian landscapes, creatures, households, and situations to life. In addition, I believe Williamson himself is depicted throughout along with, I assume, many of his personal photographs, possessions, and more.

The story is narrated by a young boy character, and readers will be keen to get to the end to find out what solution he and the rest of his tired, driven-crazy-by-snoring family come up with to deal with the locomotive noises they hear each night.

Please note: Penguin provided a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.