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

Sunday 1 September 2019

Who is Ivy Bird? Interview with Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft

Ivy Bird from Two Points of View

To celebrate the release of Ivy Bird, we've come up with something a little something different. We thought we’d offer our perspectives on Ivy Bird—from an author POV and an illustrator POV. These responses are imagined by each of us, and there was no collaboration in the creation of this interview!

Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft

What kind of kid is Ivy?
T: She’s creative, mercurial (was going to say ‘flighty’!), curious and huge-hearted.
J: A free spirited, nature-loving whirlwind.

Why does she love birds?
T: Because they represent what attracts Ivy, and what life should be for all kids … beauty, curiosity and freedom.
J: Birds represent beauty, freedom and flight—what isn't to love?!

What do you think her favourite bird is?
T: I think it’s the duck. Because it’s playful, resourceful—and can migrate! I think Ivy will travel the world when she’s older. Also, ducks in flight represent spiritual freedom. That’s so Ivy.
J: Oh, a tough one! I feel like it would be her own bird, her sweet little canary.

What about her favourite breakfast?
T: I imagine she loves almond pancakes with coconut yoghurt and fresh berries.
J: Because she is so hard to pin down for breakfast, something she can grab while she is running is best—like a muesli bar or piece of fruit.

What other interests does Ivy have?
T: She loves to draw, paint, read and explore. She also loves gardening and putting on plays.
J: Art, collecting things, nature adventures.

What’s her favourite colour?
T: Aqua blue. Like the cover of the book.
J: Sky blue.

What does she love to do with her twin baby brothers?
T: Her favourite thing in the WORLD to do with them is read picture books. She sounds out all the words and puts on funny voices.
J: Swim, read, bath, play...

What’s her dog’s name?
T: Feathers.
J: Winston.

What’s her pet canary’s name?
T: Sunshine. (You know how kids tend to name animals after their colour!)
J: George.

Does she go to kinder? What’s her favourite thing to do there?
T: She does. Her favourite thing is to do in the class room is draw. Her favourite thing in the playground is tag.
J: Yes, she loves to dress up, draw, cook and play in their treehouse.

What do you think she’ll be when she grows up?
T: A traveller and conservationist. I think she’ll do some teaching in her lifetime, too.
J: A vet or zookeeper.

What do her parents do for a living?
T: Her dad works for a film production company as a producer, and her mum is a high school English teacher. She also makes kombucha and sauerkraut to sell at the local gourmet market.
J: Her mum is a magazine writer. Her dad is a teacher.

Where does she live?
T: She lives between the mountains and the beach.
J: Country New South Wales.

What is your favourite bird in the book? Why?
T: I’ve always been drawn to the flamingo—lifelong. I’m not sure why. I think because its colours are insanely beautiful and it’s the epitome of retro design elegance? Think 1920s Deco and 1960s beachside kitsch. I love how Ivy play acts a flamingo in the book.
J: I like the bowerbird. The little pause there and moment with Ivy is so lovely!

Do you have a favourite bird that’s not included in the book?
I adore the hoopoe. Also the Canadian goose. And the loon. It may walk like it’s drunk, but its feather patterning is exquisite. The gang gang cockatoo is also exceptionally beautiful.
J: I do have a soft spot for owls, like the tawny frogmouth.

Why is that bird special?
The hoopoe is perfection in terms of its shape, colouring, patterning. Even the curve of its beak is magnificent. They have a detailed and fascinating mythological and symbolic relationship with humans. They were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.
J: Just so grumpy looking, but so regal. Incredibly, you can find them tucked in trees in my neighbourhood in Melbourne!

What’s so glorious about birds?
Firstly, that they are related to dinosaurs! Secondly, they are pollinators and seed-spreaders, like honey bees with feathers. Lastly, they’re not only beautiful, they can fly. And what could be more glorious than the ability to fly?
J: Birds are magic. For the same reason Ivy loves them, I do too!

Why do kids need to know more about them?
Because the more kids know about anything, the more they will care. And we need people to care. Not only about birds—about our entire ecosystem. Also, birds are arguably one of the most fascinating and variant animals in existence.
J: The more books that celebrate animals and plants the better. We are in such a critical time for our environment and our kids’ futures—and the more care and respect kids can teach us adults, the better.

What can kids do to help protect birds?
They can learn more about them. And share what they know.
J: Many things! Use recycled paper and toilet paper is a big one. Do fundraisers for great groups like Bird Life Australia. Join the National Bird Count. Tread lightly on our earth.

More about the book...

Ivy Bird

Ivy wakes with the birds. She flutters, she flits... then takes flight into the endless blue of imaginative play — foraging for nectar, pecking in the sunshine, splashing the day away. Introducing an aviary of beautiful birds to little ones, Ivy Bird is a celebration of nature, friendship, and the love and comfort found in feathering the nest.

Ivy Bird, September 2019, Windy Hollow Books, AU$25.99/NZ$29.99, hard cover, 9781922081797) BUY