Picture Book Review: Ben Brown Has Been Found, by Steve Gritton

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Ben Brown Has Been Found, by Steve Gritton
After running through town shouting “He’s been found!” Sebastian must try to stop the entire town’s celebration when they misunderstand who he was talking about.

Paperback: 36 pages
Publisher: SMG books (September 29, 2012)

My Thoughts:

First of all, let me just say that this is such a funny idea for a picture book!  Both of my kids, my husband, and I all love it.  I feel like it could have been a little more polished, but I enjoyed it quite a bit as it is.

I only had two complaints with the book.  One is the dark heavy line that separates Sebastian’s hair from his head.  I think that several shorter lines would have worked better in that area.  The other is that on a couple of pages, the gutter of the book was not accounted for and an important part of the picture (like the mayor’s head) gets stuck in the crease of the book. 

Other than that, I really liked this book.  It is a fun concept that is humorously delivered. Very funny!

Interview with Steve Gritton:

If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go? 
I would love to go to Bora Bora, just so I could say Bora Bora over and over. When? Anytime after lunch would be fine.  
If you could only read 3 books for the rest of your life, what would they be?  
Would I die after 3 books? I think I’ll just watch Spongebob reruns. Thank you.  
Do you have a favorite TV show?  
Not really. I like shows that make me laugh. And ZOMBIES! 
What is your favorite season and why? 
 Salt. It taste good. Oh, you said season. Salt is definitely not a season.
Where do you get your inspiration from?  
Silliness is the best place to get ideas. I take things I see or hear and make them silly. Ben Brown was created out of taking something I heard and making it silly.  
Why did you decide to write children’s fiction? 
Again, silliness. Who else can appreciate silliness than children. It’s fun to watch kids laugh. Makes me laugh.
What is your favorite thing about writing for children? 
I’m sticking with silliness. I can write stories and draw pictures that are humorous and, well, I guess I’m just a big kid at heart. It keeps me young. 
Is there anything about writing/illustrating that you find particularly challenging?  
Editing. Either the story or the drawings. But it always make things better when you are willing to try new things. 
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? 
I started writing comic strips in college. I like drawing cartoons and cartoon characters. After my wife and I had kids, I thought children’s books would be like a comic strip, only longer. So I started writing for children. 
What is the one book that everyone should read? 
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker. Fantastic children’s book for that bored 9 year old. I read this book to my class every year. 
What do you like to do in your free time? 
Draw and write. That is my free time. I spent most of last summer drawing Ben Brown and loved every minute. 
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  
Anything with chunks of chocolate in it. Surprisingly, I don’t care much for plain chocolate ice cream. 
Favorite movie?  
Young Frankenstein and A Nightmare Before Christmas. 
Any hidden talents? 
When I was a kid, I was able to ride a unicycle. And I can juggle 3 objects. Just not at the same time. 

What do you love the most about children’s books?  
I love being able to tell a story with words and pictures. 
  
Pet peeves? 
Earthquakes. They never call first.

Is there anything that your audience should know about you?  
I’m an elementary school teacher by day, and not an alien.

What are your current projects?  
Current projects: a chapter book about dodgeball for 2nd and 3rd graders, and a book about cows. You’ll just have to wait.

About the Author/Illustrator:

Born and raised in Los Angeles. I began drawing birthday cards for my friends when I was 13. It was then that I wanted to become a cartoonist (big fan of Berkely Breathed, but don’t tell him, it will go to his head). At one point, I had developed two comic strips, The Moth Man and Cracker Cats which appeared in my college newspaper. After starting and stopping and starting again, finally graduated from California State University of Fullerton with a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration. Still had a desire to draw comics, I turned my attention towards children’s books. And what better way to do that then by teaching. Found I was good at that as well. So now I’m a teacher.

I came up with the idea for The Trouble with Sisters and Robots after getting a piece of metal in my eye. Apparently, metal will rust in your eye if you leave it for even one day. After having the metal and rust removed, my friends began teasing me (they know I have a good sense of humor, so it was ok) and called me Rusteye. I thought “that would be a great name for a robot.” After many versions, including one where Rusteye was an evil robot on a planet full of robots, and dozens of rewrites, The Trouble with Sisters and Robots was born. And if you can believe it, I once had the working title of “Shut up Lizzy!” but that didn’t sound to nice.
You can learn more about me at www.stevegritton.com

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