This week, we’re getting to know Peter Brown, author and illustrator of The Curious Garden and Chowder. His books are some of my favorites, and this interview made me want to know even more about him. We share a mutual love of the Highline in New York, which is the epitome of a “curious garden.” Enjoy this fun interview: it’ll make you smile as much as one of his books!
Ali Wing: What is your motto?
Peter Brown: Who am I to judge?
AW: What inspires you?
PB: I’m very interested in the juxtaposition of seemingly opposite things, especially when it involves nature. Urban wilderness is one of my favorite subjects, one which I explored in my book “The Curious Garden.” The most famous example of urban wilderness was probably the High Line in New York City. The High Line was an abandoned railway that became overgrown with wildflowers and grasses and trees, and in 2009 was converted into a public park.
I’m also interested in the similarities and differences between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom, a subject I touched upon in my upcoming book “Children Make Terrible Pets.”
AW: What color are you loving right now?
PB: I don’t have favorite colors, I have favorite color combinations. These days I’m using a lot of “earth” tones, like mustard, sepia, and forest green, combined with bright pink and bright blue-green. Here’s the cover of my upcoming picture book “Children Make Terrible Pets,” available September 2010, where you can see this palette.
AW: What are you currently reading?
PB: I’m always working on one piece of Non-Fiction AND one of Fiction. Currently I’m reading A Different Nature: The Paradoxical World of Zoos and their Uncertain Future by David Hancocks, and Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov.
AW: What is your favorite city/location/destination?
PB: Of the places I’ve already been, I’d say my favorite was probably the mountains and fjords of Norway. If unicorns exist, they live in Norway.
AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?
PB: To me, Jazz is the most versatile music genre. Some jazz makes me relaxed, some makes me want to dance, some is happy and some is sad. Most jazz is both happy AND sad, which is wonderful. Lester Young soothes my soul.
AW: What is your favorite dessert?
PB: Chocolate bread pudding that is a little crispy on top, and a little gooey inside.
AW: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
PB: Creating a life for myself where I get paid to do what I love.
AW: Who are your heroes?
PB: James Marshall, Busby Berkeley, Jane Goodall, Hayao Miyazaki and Jon Stewart.
And, please complete the following:
Curmudgeons make me laugh.