author spotlight, humor, illustration

Author Spotlight – Melanie Watt

Melanie Watt is a French-Canadian who has loved art and being silly since she was a child. One of her earliest cartoon obsessions was the Garfield comic strip which she drew many times over. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from the University of Quebec – Montreal. In 1999, Watts discovered children’s book writing while taking a design class about illustration. She created Leon, a chameleon character, and wrote a story to go with her drawings. By 2001, Leon the Chameleon was published and became her first book. From there, Watts would create Scaredy Squirrel, her most consistent character who has appeared in six books & counting.

Chester (Kids Can Press)
Written & Illustrated by Melanie Watt

For ages: 3-7
In this fun meta-text, the housecat Chester takes over writing the book from author Melanie Watt. He’s a plump calico cat with a red marker that’s unafraid to mark out Watt’s words and replace them with his own. Chester manages to exit the mouse from his book by sending him on vacation to Mexico. Mouse returns with a bulldog, but Chester manages to use his marker to fight back. Chester even argues with the author, who teams up with the Mouse to try and get control of the book. Like all of Watt’s books, this is exceptionally playful and perfect for an expressive read-aloud.

Have I Got a Book For You! (Kids Can Press)
Written & Illustrated by Melanie Watt

For ages: 3-7
This book, written in the form of ad copy, is hosted by toupee-wearing salesman Al Foxword. He’s an experienced salesman who knows his way around hawking penguins, umbrellas, and fish. Now he’s serving as the hype man for this book. Each page has Foxword making promises about how much the reader will enjoy this book and even giving suggestions about what you can do if you own multiple copies. Foxword is a ridiculous pitchman, and this is a book where you will need a reader that can capture that sort of limitless energy and desire to sell. 

You’re Finally Here (Hyperion Book CH)
Written & Illustrated by Melanie Watt

For ages: 3-7
Bunny couldn’t wait for you to pick up his book and spends most of his time celebrating that you finally arrived. However, Bunny is also a bit annoyed that you took so long and spends some time talking about how he passed the time in your absence. But that’s not fun, so it’s back to cheering you on for showing up. Then Bunny presents the reader with a contract to sign, promising they will never leave the book but is interrupted by his cell phone. And then a big surprise happens as Chester from Watt’s previous book and Mo Willems’ Pigeon show up to lecture Bunny on answering his phone in the middle of a picture book. This is a fun and light-hearted fourth wall-breaking tome that kids will find a lot of fun with.

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