“I’m lucky to have grown up with a dad who taught me that your sleeve is a good place to wear your heart” – one of the many droplets of wisdom Danny Parker shared with us in his writing workshop.
He took us through some of his picture books and how much extra the illustrations add in meaning and story. “Tree” helped him realise how little you need in text. It began as “Henry the little tree,” in which the big tree talks to the seedling as they snuggle together. The editor wanted to remove all anthropomorphising which meant the trees could not talk, think, or even have a name. What was left was very moving when teamed with the illustrations by Matt Ottley and had much greater depth and meaning than he realised was possible.
He got us to write some lines that fit the pattern, “A crayon and somewhere to scribble.” He then showed us his latest book which was only made up of these phrases. Despite breaking every rule of story writing, the editor liked it so much, it is called “Perfect.”
Danny moved to Perth from the UK in 2004. Between writing he works as a drama teacher. His books include: No kind of Superman, Tree, Parachute, and soon to be released: Perfect, and Lola’s toy box series. http://dannyparker.com.au/