Hi everyone! I’m really excited to introduce you to A Dark and Dismal Flower. This is a book app written by JC Herz and Eve Scott, Illustrated by Shamona Stokes, and animated by Alex Scott. Make sure you read the interview and watch the trailer. Once you’ve been stunned by the gorgeous trailer, enter the giveaway to win a piece of art from the book!
About the Book App:
A Dark and Dismal Flower by JC Herz and Eve Scott
Release Date: May 1, 2014 from Coliloquy LLC
“Mind the seeds you plant, and the flowers that you tend,” advises Aunt Maeve as she hands a packet of magical seeds to her little niece.
From that mix of seeds sprouts a mesmerizing, magical journey for one little girl.
Each day, the girl plants a different seed, only to see flowers bloom into botanical allegories of her own behavior: The bright seed of Cheerfulness grows towards the light. The seed of Patience grows slowly and blooms after many moons. In the garden are virtues: Kindness, Hope, Generosity, Humor and Gratitude. But also failings: Fibs, Misery, Tattle Tale, Vanity and Argument. Each flower represents a quality that the little girl cultivates (or battles) within herself.
Mother and daughter authors J.C. Herz and Eve Scott take readers on a vivid, interactive adventure whose literary language and exquisite animated illustrations are deeply evocative. The narrative and imagery opens the door for even young children to reflect on their own behavior and moral choices.
JC Herz is the author of three books, including Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness. She was the New York Times’ first game design critic (her “Game Theory” essays are archivedhere), and has written for Wired and Rolling Stone. She is an avid gardener, and likes to plant the purple versions of regular vegetables.
Eve Scott is in second grade. She likes to build fairy houses and create jewelry out of natural materials. She has written two songs for ukulele, and an illustrated exposition of the parallels between Tolkien’s world of middle earth and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.
Shamona Stokes is a designer and illustrator, currently freelancing in New York City (her website: www.addsubtract.net). Her work has been showcased in publications like Graphis and galleries nationwide, including the Society of Illustrators. Her designs and artwork can be found on the bottom of skateboards and onstage for top-billing musicians. Shamona holds a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration from Pratt Institute. In her downtime, she enjoys adventuring in NYC and traveling to places off-the-beaten-path.
Alex Scott is a motion graphics designer and animator, freelancing in the NYC area (his website: www.movementsociety.com). His work on broadcast TV has contributed to several Gold PromaxBDA and Telly awards. His animations have also been seen on digital billboards overlooking Times Square and at film festivals around the world. Alex received a BFA in Computer Graphics from Pratt Institute in 2001 where he met his wife, Shamona. He draws inspiration from the intersection of science and art and has an ear for music.
Interview with JC Herz:
What inspired you to write a book about flowers?
I’m a big gardener – we grow a lot of flowers and vegetables in the back yard and around our house. So flowers have been a big part of my daughter’s experience since she can remember. She actually came up with the idea for the book!
She was in kindergarten, and told me (in the car on the way to school) that the morning tends to go the way it starts: if she wakes up cheerful and hops right into her chores (get dressed, make bed, brush teeth), then the morning unfolds cheerfully. If she gets up grumpy and dilly-dallies, it tends to go badly. “It’s like planting a seed,” she explained. “If you plant the seed of happiness, it grows into a happy morning. If you plant the seed of crankiness, it grows into a bad morning.”
It had been a beautiful morning for her, but a terrible morning for her little brother Jack, who was getting over a cold. He got up on the wrong side of the crib and was moaning and protesting from the time he woke up until Eve and I left for school. When I picked her up that afternoon, she asked, “Hasn’t it been a wonderful day. I planted the seed of happiness and it grew into a good morning.” She paused, wondering what kind of Jack she would find when we got home.
“Jack planted the seed of misery,” she deadpanned. “I hope it hasn’t grown into a dark and dismal flower.” This is a reminder of what can happen when small children super-dose on gothic fairy tales. That phrase, “a dark and dismal flower,” stuck with me – it was so evocative. That comment was the seed that grew into the story of DDF. Eve came up with all the flowers, and we had a really fascinating series of conversations about what those flowers would look like, feel like, smell like. When I asked her what the flower of Regret would smell like, she said, “You know a house that hasn’t been lived in for a long long time? One that’s been abandoned? That’s what regret smells like.”
Why did you decide to write for children?
The book emerged and evolved as a set of parent-child conversations – I think it was a little like Alice in Wonderland that way, a tale devised for a specific child, in this case in collaboration with that child. It was me discovering what Eve’s imagination would come up with, then applying some literary skill to massage all those images and phrases into a rhythm and sequence.
What are the best books you’ve read so far this year?
About once a year, I reread C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, and it always stops me in my tracks. On a more contemporary note, I’ve enjoyed Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids. As a flower fan, I sort of gasped at the beauty of Studio Choo’s The Flower Recipe Book: 100 Magical, Sculptural, Seasonal Arrangements. It’s definitely boosted the visual appeal of what Eve and I throw into a vase, when we have flowers to pick.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I don’t indulge often, but I love coffee ice cream. That little bite of coffee flavor balances the sweetness and creaminess.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to heal.
What is your favorite season?
Late spring – so many flowers! Also, the garden beds are planted and sprouts are up. It’s all fresh beginnings and potential, before the heat and weeds set in 🙂
Wasn’t that trailer amazing? Make sure you enter the giveaway to win a piece of art from the book to hang on your child’s wall.
As the seeds in DDF sprout alongside our protagonist, we would love for YOU to share your own stories–of crankiness, cheerfulness, laughter. Anyone can invent a seed they/their child experienced, and share their story on twitter using the hashtag #sprout. Then, enter HERE to potentially win our giveaway: a print from the beautiful illustrations in the book.