OZ LIT PROFILE #11 – Kathryn Apel

This weekend’s OZ Lit Profile is debut picture book author Kathryn Apel. This is the Mud was published in May 2009 by Hachette Children’s book. A primary school teacher who lives on a farm in Queensland, Kathryn knows all about cows and mud! To find out more about Kathryn (and to read some wonderful poetry by Kat and friends) visit the Kat’s Whiskers blog.

But now over to the microphone and the interview chair:-

1 The last children’s/YA book you read (fiction or non-fiction) ‘Sixth Grade Style Queen (NOT!)’ by Sherryl Clark. This was the first verse novel I’ve read (I’ve heard much about them in recent times) and I was amazed by the character and story development in such few words. And I loved the poetry – the preciseness of each word. It truly is a craft! I’m keen to read more. (Pearl and Ruby are next on my list, and then there’s Farm Kid, and the list grows from there.)

2 If it wasn’t an Oz title, then the last Oz title (It was)

3 Name one favourite book from your childhood Oops! I’m going to be very naughty and honest and say that I loved Enid Blyton – and now my son does too! In fact, my big rebellion in Yr 7 was to organise a ‘sit in’ protest when our school library banned Enid Blyton books. I took enough for my class to have one each (even the non-readers go into the act) and we sprawled over the library floor in the lunch break, proudly displaying our Enid Blytons. I don’t know how much reading we got done, but I do know that the librarian wasn’t very happy. (Heh! Nor was I!)

From my younger years, I must admit I liked ‘Lennie the Lamb’, one in an anthology of bedtime stories. I was thrilled to spot the book in a second-hand shop recently, so bought it for nostalgia. That cute little wayward lamb is still cheating the wolf of his lamb roast – and the wolf is STILL falling for the cheese trick…

4 Name one picture book that you love for the illustrations ‘Edward the Emu.’ The way that emu can look like so many other zoo animals – and yet still look like an emu… I think it’s great! So amazingly realistic, right down to the chipped and peeling paint on the zoo fence. Many times I’ve reached out to touch it, expecting it to feel like it looks. (It hasn’t yet.)

5 What is your personal favourite among the books you have authored/illustrated ‘This is the Mud!’ because it really has been a wonderful journey with so many special moments along the way – both in the shared family moments (it was my youngest son who chose it as my entry into the CYA competition – which set it on its path to publication) and in the production of the book. And it’s pretty special because though it wasn’t my first ‘published’ book, it was my first book accepted for publication. So a sentimental favourite.

It’s also really wonderful to be standing at the other side knowing that every word in the book is mine, and everything I asked for is in the book. It’s noticeably Australian – but totally FUN. Warren Crossett’s illustrations are simply gorgeous, and they definitely delight kids, whilst subtly reflecting our Australian life.

I guess I hadn’t expected to be quite this satisfied at the completion of the book, but ‘This is the Mud!’ does absolutely everything I’d ever hoped it would.

6 What book do you wish you had written – for love or money ‘Are we there yet?’ by Alison Lester. She has perfectly captured the journey and the family, and since we share the caravan lifestyle, and will likely visit many of the places she did… and because she writes like I think… well, I often do feel that she’s telling my story. I also love the fact that no matter how many times you read it, there’s always something new to discover. Especially when you read it with kids.

7 If you could be a character in a book, who (or what) would you be Hmmm… That’s a really tricky question… Totally away from children’s books, I’m thinking perhaps a Jane Austen heroine, because I love the flounces and frills of the era and would happily wear them myself (Yes please!) but I also enjoy Jane’s satirical look at life and the strength in her heroines. You won’t walk over them. So I’d have to say… Elizabeth Bennett.

8 Do you have a favourite quote – from a book or life in general! Anything. I always got a bit choked up when I read the ‘The Lion Who Wanted to Love’, by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowyez to my boys. I think it’s got a great message, encouraging kids to be themselves – even if it means being different. And there most definitely can never be too much love and compassion in our world. Hmmm… Hunting the book out for the quote, and I see I still DO get choked up and goosebumpy.

‘You’ve got to be strong to be different,
And when you’ve got love on your side
You’ve got the most valuable gift that there is,
We want you as King of our pride.’

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One response to “OZ LIT PROFILE #11 – Kathryn Apel”

  1. Hello!, i dont know if you remeber me, im Veronica Gibbs, you used to teach me in Mirmal Vale, i saw your book ‘This is the mud” and it had your name on in, i was really happy to see it to.

    I might not come back here to see your reply (if you do reply.) My email is [email protected]

    Please reply soon thanks.
    Veronica Gibbs

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