You’ve got to see this book. And you’ve got to stick around for some extras from Lesley Barnes, its author and illustrator.
It begins on the endpapers.
Once upon a time there lived a terrible dragon.
And then on the title page, we can guess that we’ve just seen a snippet of this girl’s book. You can tell she’s a book lover by that throne of books she’s sitting atop. (Keep an eye on Dog throughout the pages. He’s not too sure about all of this.)
By the time the story starts, we’re already in the middle of it.
We’re already sympathetic to this big, pink, dragon who’s dripping with knights and the letters from his story. But Jill, sweet Jill, with patterned pants equally as eye-catching as Dragon’s, ropes him up and invites him out of his story and into hers.
It’s the tea party that changes everything.
It’s that tea party that makes room for an exquisite gatefold and a happy ending.
It’s a meta tale that’s dazzling and dreamy and unexpected and just plain wonderful. What Lesley Barnes accomplishes with this color palette and style is nothing short of design time travel.
(The previous three pictures provided by Lesley. Many thanks!)
I asked Lesley about her inspirations for this story, and she’s graciously given us this sneak peek behind the scenes.
As for what inspired her style for this book? These.
Even better, these guys.
That’s Frank and Pumpkin, Lesley’s dogs. On the left is Frank, who inspired Dragon’s look, and Pumpkin, who inspired Dog’s. Jill & Dragon is even dedicated to this duo!
One of my favorite things about books is when other art is inspired by its own. Like this fabulous Dog brooch, exquisitely crafted by Lesley’s friend, Jennifer Loiselle.
Untame your inspiration along with this trio. Use your talents wisely.