Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

on the quest - The Knights of Boo'Gar (Amp! Comics for Kids) by Art Roche

"Oh my! My kids loved this story - with names like Boo'Gar, Phelma, Sinius and Mewkus is it any wonder? They loved all the snot references and the colourful illustrations that went along with this story [...] we now have a new favourite bedtime story!" - Fee, Goodreads


Published: April 2017

Princess Phlema’s pet goat Babycakes has been kidnapped from Castle Boo’Gar, and the ransom note demands the kingdom’s sacred Book of Loogey in exchange for the goat’s safe return. King Mewkus summons the Knights of Boo’Gar to track down the kidnappers, but the Knights have been on furlough for so long that only one person responds to the call: a 13-year-old boy named Rowland. Undaunted by the lack of reinforcements, Rowland agrees to take on the quest, enlisting the help of his pet turtle and his trusty steed, who happens to be an ostrich. While Rowland treks through the Dark Woods, encountering dangerous obstacles and fearsome creatures, Princess Phlema takes matters into her own hands.

The Knights of Boo’Gar is a quirky adventure set in an engaging world of heroes, nose goblins, a spunky princess, giant bats and way too many cantaloupes. Packed with full-color illustrations, this wacky chapter book emphasizes the importance of friendship, bravery and is a delightfully easy read for kids and grown-ups alike.


1. How did you come to create stories for kids? Do you have any plans for older kids/persons?
I am guided by my extreme immaturity as an adult! Also - I guess I’ve always had a very rich internal imaginary life. From a young age, I was drawn to cartooning and followed a career path from kids’ TV at Cartoon Network, to kids’ games with Animal Jam. I’m not sure I could pull off an actual book for grown-ups (laughs,) but who knows? Maybe someday. 

2. What does it take to write “humor middle-grade” stories
Middle grade kids are in that magical space between childhood and adulthood. It can be a challenging time. They of course want good writing like any reader does, but the subject matter can be a little bit weird or silly, which is why I am drawn to this audience. Middle grade life is tough, and if I can provide a fun little escape from the daily stress of school and home, then I want to do that.

3. How do you keep in touch with what the youngest generations want? Or it’s more important to give them what they need?
My own creative taste is my guide, usually. I don’t try to deconstruct what today’s kids want or need. I try to write books that I would have read when I was 9 or 10 years old. But I do watch a lot of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows just to get a feeling for the pace and texture of what kids are seeing out in the world. 

4. How important are the images for The Knights of Boo'Gar and how did you choose what exactly moments of the story to illustrate?
Well, I was a cartoonist before I was a writer, so the images are VERY important! (Laughs) In the case of The Knights of Boo’Gar, I decided what I wanted to draw first, even before the story was written. I knew that if I was going to spend a lot of time with these characters, I better like drawing them! So, I started with the art and let the story sort of grow organically out of that. Once the story was written I went back through the text and circled the parts that would be fun to illustrate, but also help tell the story. 

5. What do you think about our day cartoons? Are they going in a good direction?
Cartoons are an amazing art and literary form. It’s a shame that, in the United States, cartoons are still considered something only for kids. In most of the world, cartoons are used to tell stories for readers of all ages. Animated shows on TV are very good right now, and there are more graphic novels available for kids now than ever before. This is all good news for kids. In fact, I think you could make the argument that this is a “golden age” for middle grade graphic novels. 

6. What kind of illustrations do you prefer and why: white and black or colored?
That’s a complex question. I think the black & white illustrations of Robert McCloskey (Make Way for Ducklings) are so beautiful. I could not imagine them being any better in color. For my own work however, I prefer color because I can set the mood with color, and it tends to make my drawings “pop” a bit more. When my publisher offered full color throughout the book, I jumped at the offer. I feel lucky in that regard.

About the author:
Art Roche is a cartoonist and three-time author, previously published by Sterling Publishing. He is currently the content director for the Charles M. Schulz studio in Santa Rosa, California. Before that, Art worked in video games and was a creative director at Cartoon Network.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting