|Artwork from Small Medium and Large, courtesy of Jane Monroe Donovan|
Last week, a beautiful picture book called Small Medium and Large jumped off the shelf at the elementary school book fair, straight into my hands. What a treasure! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen illustrations that more beautifully articulate the connection between a child and her animals. It's about a girl who wishes for three best friends for Christmas.
After I got the book home, I realized the author/illustrator (
horse lover Jane Monroe Donovan) had written and illustrated another one of my favorite picture books, this one called Winter’s Gift about two lonely hearts – a widower and a lost, pregnant mare – who find each other one white Christmas. That afternoon, I ignored my deadlines for a little while to run back up to the school and buy the remaining copies of Small Medium and Large to give as Christmas presents. Michigan
And, as usual, questions started popping into my head. I wanted to know more. Jane was kind enough to indulge me with an interview for TheSweetFeed.com. Here’s a bit of what she had to say about her life with horses and her wonderful books.
What do you love most about painting animals, and especially horses?
Growing up I always had animals. I have two grown boys now and they have always felt the same way. An animal makes a house seem like a home. Even after Christmas, my sons would tire of toys quickly, but the animals brought them continuous joy all year long. It never ends. That’s what inspired this book, how you never feel alone when you have an animal with you.
Your miniature horse, Fern was inspiration for the story’s illustrations. What qualities about Fern did you most want to express?
Fern is sweet, goofy, funny and adventurous. Her spirit of adventure is what made me think of sledding. One time she was investigating a tarp on the ground that was (of course) really scary to the other horses. She actually got under it and went galloping around the field with it attached to her, scaring the my Arab and my quarter horse to death.
Click here for more information about Jane Monroe Donovan and her books.