16th February 2017
Written by J.R. Poulter & Illustrated by Muza Ulasowski
Released: 10th October 2016
Book title: Getting Home
Author: J.R. Poulter
Illustrator: Muza Ulasowski
Publisher: Word Wings for Kids
Format: Hard Cover
Illustrator’s website: www.muzadesigns.com.au
Tell us about yourself
I am a graphic designer and children's book illustrator based in the leafy western suburb of Brookfield in Brisbane, Queensland. Australia. I am inspired and surrounded by a vast array of local birds and animals who tend to make their appearances in my book illustrations. I share this life with my wonderfully patient husband, our charismatic bulldog called Charlie and a black magic cat named Basil.
As far as I can remember, I had always wanted to illustrate children’s picture books, but life has a tendency to get in the way and I forgot my childhood dreams. Then, in 2010, I was invited by a traditional publisher to illustrate my first children's picture book and I enjoyed it so much, that I have been collaborating ever since with Australian and international authors. To date I have illustrated 10 children's picture books and am working on several more projects which will be published in 2017.
In my spare time I enjoy illustrating in pencil and charcoal, acrylic painting, wildlife photography, sewing, and creating artworks for my colourful and crafty ETSY store.
What is your book about?
Polar Bear cub is curious. He goes where Mama Polar Bear said, “Do not go!”. He goes off to watch orcas chasing seals, but the ice shelf he is sitting on breaks off, leaving him just a tiny little bit of ice to sit on, and he finds him adrift and lost in the immensity of the ocean. He has lost his mother, his friends and his sibling, too – he is all alone. Will Mama Bear find him before his piece of ice floe melts?
Who is your target audience for this book?
Getting Home is a story aimed at early childhood and lower primary children with themes of risk taking, keeping safe, obedience, separation anxiety and introduces children to notions of protecting the environment, animal habitats, melting pack ice and global warming.
What aspects did you find challenging about this book?
Jennifer and I worked closely together to make our book the best it could be. It was a true collaboration. For over a year, neither of us felt it was quite 'there' yet but we knew, if we persisted, it was going to become a book both of us would be very proud to show off to the world! Our 'perfectionism' paid off. We both finally felt we'd nailed it 2nd half of last year.
What does your book offer the reader that differs from others covering similar subjects?
Our book is unique in that it tackles separation anxiety, cause and effect and also raises in a way that small children can relate to, the issue of a threatened species, its threatened habitat and climate change.
How did the idea for this book come about?
Jennifer saw an image on Facebook by another collaborator, Anders Lindholm. He asked if the image inspired anyone to do a story. Jennifer wrote two, one for older children which became "Where the Ice Goes..." (which Anders illustrated) and a version for younger children which became "Getting Home." That was the beginning, but Jennifer and 'evolved' the story well beyond that point, to be the book we now have.
Find out more about Muza Ulasowski
Muza Ulasowski's website: www.muzadesigns.com.au