'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 3 September 2011

Featured Father: Andrew Joyner

Happy father's day, Andy! 

Who are you?
Andrew Joyner

What do you do? 
I'm an illustrator and author of children's books. My books include The Terrible Plop (by Ursula Dubosarsky) and the Boris series.

How many kids do you have?
I have two children - William, 8 years old, and Charlotte, 6 years old.

What kind of Dad are you?
I think it's hard for me to judge, but from an informal survey I am apparently 'cool', 'awesome' and 'sleepy'.

What do your kids call you?
Normally just Dad or Daddy, but sometimes Daddy Doofus.

What do you like most about being a Dad?
Well, obviously there's the love and affection, and just the sense of being a family. But I also like the way fatherhood takes me out of myself and my petty concerns. Plus the craft. I love the craft (although it does add to the clutter). [Ed: you're a gooooood man]

What is your favourite book about Dads?
This will sound very biased, as it's a book I was lucky to illustrate, but I'm going to pick a collection of pieces by the journalist Ross Campbell called My Life as a Father. It's not a children's book - it's a collection of his columns from the fifties and sixties (he wrote for the Australian Women's Weekly and the Sunday Telegraph, among others). They are all so funny and charming, and beautifully written - deft and light. He describes fatherhood as "an unpredictable experience, like flying or eating oysters. You cannot tell whether you will like it until you have tried."

I better pick some children's books too.  I'm finding it hard to think of picture books. Hmm, I'll say Gorilla by Anthony Browne. For older readers, I'd say The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It's not directly about fathers - it's about an orphaned boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard - but it's filled with wonderful father figures. And I expect any parent - mother or father - would cry when they get to the end. I certainly did!

Can you tell us the name of your newest book? Will it be good for Dads?
My latest books are the Boris series about a young warthog called Boris and his life in Hogg Bay with his Mum and Dad. Dad is admittedly more of a background character, but he does make his somewhat doofussy presence felt.

Learn more about Andy's work at andrewjoyner.com.au or simply ogle this sensational, original, Joyner family pic... and feel very satisfied indeed.