David Hyde Costello—author and illustrator of books including Little Pig Joins the Band, Little Pig Saves the Ship, Here They Come! and I Can Help—grew up in rural places. He lived in upstate New York and central Massachusetts, but most of his childhood was spent in Connecticut. In fact, a river in Connecticut inspired the river that Little Pig sails his ship on in Little Pig Saves the Ship! He moved to Amherst nearly twenty years ago, and loves living here because he can hike, go canoeing, and enjoy the outdoors (Clip 1 below)! What do you like about where you live? What activities do you enjoy doing?
From an early age David was creative. As a child, he used to draw, invent stories and songs, and make models out of clay. As a grown up, he’s used these skills in his work as an author and illustrator of children’s books, as a movie set designer and as a puppeteer. Among his many notable projects is his work on Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom, his own Little Pig book series, and an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow featuring puppets. David’s projects do not always fit into just one mode of creativity. When he is creating a story with words and pictures, it might be accompanied in his imagination by music or movement – or both! When he’s imagining a story, not only do words and drawings appear in his mind, but music also accompanies the story (Clip 2). Do you ever create stories? How do you like to express your imagination? Remember, making stories is as easy as having an imagination! (Clip 3)
Among the many reasons books and stories have been important to him, David cites simple enjoyment, and the way a book can help us through tough situations. Hearing a story read in a funny voice, or acting out a scene with a caregiver is a fun experience that children will often remember for years. If something hard comes along in their life or they experience a difficult situation—maybe something sad or scary—having stories in their memory that relate to that situation can give them strength and support. Even if the experience is fantastical, hearing that someone else has gone through the same situation, helps children feel less alone (Clip 4). Is there a particular story that you love being told? Has there ever been a time when you felt sad or scared? How have stories helped you deal with those times?
David has kindly shared with us an assortment of images from the process of making the Little Pig books, including clay models of different characters! Enjoy!