Sky Pony author/illustrator Richard Fairgray takes on the Sky Pony Q&A. Check it out!
Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?
It’s kind of a sad story: the day Maurice Sendak died I went into a book store to pick up a copy of Pierre (his best book, possibly THE best book) and discovered that not only did they not have it, but they had NOTHING by him. To add insult, the entire picture book section had been taken over by shrink wrapped books with toys included. Now, I’m someone who loved nothing more as a child than reading books on the floor of a book shop while my mother wandered away to buy hideous plastic shoes or earrings that looked like prizes from a carnival. I would paw through books, finding ones I needed and now that was impossible, I had walked in to a place that was once very special and I had found the books wrapped in plastic. I looked through the meagre selection and was struck by how many of the books just seemed terrible; stories about cows farting or goats farting or people farting, the kind of books I would have laughed at when I was three but never needed to read more than once. Where were the books that would stay with people? Where were the books that kids would cherish and hold onto and reread their entire lives? Those books don’t come wrapped in plastic, I guess. So, I went home and started writing a picture book. Three days later I sent it off to the printers and a month after that it was on shelves nationwide (just not in that terrible chain where everything was untouchable by the kids who liked to read). Since then I’ve been splitting my time between picture books and comics (my usual job).
Q: What are you reading right now?
I just read The Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders, it’s wonderful and I want to write a book that good as soon as possible. I’m also rereading Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, one of my favorite novels ever, and I have misplaced my copy of Oh What a Paradise It Seems by John Cheever when I was about a chapter from the end (I think I left it on a plane).
Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?
Does the phone book count as a children’s book? If so I would like to be R. Fairgray (this joke makes no sense, I am not really in the phone book).
Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?
In my office, at my desk.
Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?
I think Rear Window is a perfect film, but in terms of rewatchability I would have to go with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?
It’s unfair to ask me that while my dog is in the room. Check back when he isn’t around to read this over my shoulder.
Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?
None of the above. Give me sour candy any day, then tip some tartaric acid on it so it really burns.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
Q: What’s your favorite emoji?
I cannot answer this question. I am an old grump.
Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were the age of your book’s main character?
The main character in my book is an elderly dinosaur. I’m not yet an elderly dinosaur. But I always wanted to be a writer.
Gorillas In Our Midst by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
Gorillas can be hard to spot, because they are masters of disguise and really good at hiding. Gorillas often have jobs where they get to wear masks—that’s why so many gorillas are surgeons, astronauts, scuba divers, and ninjas. There are adult gorillas and kid gorillas. There are even gorillas that go to school with you. You may think you’ve seen a gorilla swinging by before, but it’s much more likely that he was an orangutan—orangutans are terrible at hiding. You will know when there are lots of gorillas living in your midst because the grocery stores will be entirely out of bananas. In fact, you should always carry a banana with you, because you never know when there might be a gorilla around.
My Grandpa Is A Dinosaur by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
This little girl has been watching her grandpa for a very long time, and she is almost absolutely certain that he is a dinosaur. So why is it that nobody believes her? Why can’t anyone else see what she sees? He roars! (And no, it’s not just a snore.) He has green skin! (And no, he’s not from outer space.) He even has a tail! (And no, he’s not a horse!) Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, the little girl goes straight to the source. It’s time to ask Grandpa once and for all: is he a dinosaur?
That is Not the Monster We Ordered by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black, and Terry Jones
The day the Turner family gets their very own monster is a momentous event in the neighborhood. Everyone gathers for the occasion. The monster can roar louder than a lion, leap down the stairs better than any Slinky, and eat grass so no one needs to mow. Based on the Turners’ experience, investing in a monster seems like a great idea!
Except, the monster that shows up isn’t the monster they ordered at all. Their monster likes to pull pranks and paint murals, and when he eats grass, he gets gas! He isn’t a good baker and he smells! Will the family return their defective monster? Or will the monster find a way to win their love?