Good Reading : June 2010
His own stories in the 'Boy, Bear' books are generating much excitement.The first in the series was shortlisted in the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year as well as the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards, the APA Book Design Awards and the Aurealis Awards. Companion to the first book are Midsummer Knight and The Hero of Little Street, which has been shortlisted for the 2010 CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award (the winner will be announced in August). Gregory developed a strong connection to these characters and had mixed feelings when he finished the trilogy and it was time to say goodbye. 'I think the one thing that disappointed me the most [about finishing the series] was that I got to know those characters extremely well. They were such endearing characters and very strong.' But there may be hope we will see them again. 'I have a feeling that from the ashes of those will emerge something else,' says Gregory. 'It could even be a character that was never introduced into that series. There were many characters that I developed to a certain degree that never saw the pages of the book.' At the moment, however, Gregory is preoccupied with other works. He is motivated by the idea of capturing words and images together in a beautiful, yet simplistic way. 'Doing the writing myself now is a goal,' he says. In particular he is enthusiastic about a story he has spent 10 years working on. 'It is based in Paris about a composer of the late-19th century and a specific historic event ... I think I'm pretty close [to finishing it]. I'm very excited about this one; it is like the major project for me,' he says. Even though he admits to concentrating on writing rather than illustrating in the past months, the collector of 'things' and lover of coffee table books hasn't given up on wordless texts. He particularly adores A Day on the Avenue by Robert Roennfeldt, a wordless picture book that has been his biggest inspiration. 'Something that Robert has achieved in that book that I feel I want to bring to the writing I do is a sense of place, war mth and heart. 'I didn't set out to do anything particularly different than tell good stories,' says Gregory. 'I never intended for the books to appeal to any one particular audience; I wanted them to be as general as possible. My one goal was to write a good story.' The Hero of Little Street by Gregory Rogers is published by Allen & Unwin, rrp $29.99.