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Big Little Brother: An Interview With Chris Monroe

by Emma Cohen   What do Neil Diamond, Daffy Duck and Gustav Klimt have in common? They were all influential to Chris Monroe, illustrator of the new book Big Little Brother, written by Kevin Kling. Whether your children grew up on Kevin Kling’s stories, you have always loved Chris Monroe’s comics, or you have never […]

by Emma Cohen

 

What do Neil Diamond, Daffy Duck and Gustav Klimt have in common? They were all influential to Chris Monroe, illustrator of the new book Big Little Brother, written by Kevin Kling. Whether your children grew up on Kevin Kling’s stories, you have always loved Chris Monroe’s comics, or you have never heard of either of them, you are invited to hear them speak! Kevin Kling and Chris Monroe will be showing audiences their book at both 11 am and 1 pm at the Walker’s Free First Saturday event on April 7.

Big Little Brother tells the story of a boy who is annoyed by his younger brother but who discovers that a pesky sibling can actually become a friend. Childhood is full of adventures and new knowledge. Here’s what happened when Chris Monroe shared her childhood with us:

Chris Monroe

How did you express creativity as a child? I used to draw and paint and write “funny” stories and comics.

Did you ever eat paste or paint? Yes, just sampled though.

What was your imaginary friend like? I had two main imaginary friends: Frigadoo and Susie. They were mischievous siblings. They also had a horse.

What’s your most treasured object from childhood?  Probably my old teddy bear, Garfunkel.

What was your favorite book? I had different favorites at different times. Probably Richard Scarry‘s “What Do People Do All Day” was one that I loved a lot, over a long period. I looked at it often.

 

 

What type of music did your parents play around the house? We listened to a lot of Neil Diamond, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Harry Belafonte, Rolling Stones, Kingston Trio, Cat Stevens, and Peter Paul and Mary. We also loved the Hair soundtrack.

Is there a family trip that has stuck in your memory? I recently wrote a 10-part comic about a two-week family camping vacation we took. We seemingly hit every museum in a five state area.

What did you collect as a child?  I collected dolls and doll house accoutrements.

Who was your favorite cartoon character? Daffy Duck

Which TV show(s) or video games were you addicted to?  I loved The Muppet Show.

What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?  Gustav Klimt

What food did you refuse to eat as a kid?  Beets

What’s your most vivid memory from childhood?  Flashlight tag and crazy cousin wildness at Christmas

What super-power would you like to have? Flight

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?  Kindergarten when I drew a rabbit

What’s your all-time favorite childhood present?  Kiddles and Kiddle house

Who was your favorite pop star growing up?  David Cassidy

How did your family influence your career as an artist?  They were a creative bunch and we did lots of crafting!

What was your first job? I was a baby sitter for many years, had a paper route, was a candy striper, and sold greeting cards door to door. My first job job was at McDonald’s.

What subject in school made you cringe? Gym!

Were you a front row or back row kid? Either. I was a good student but a mischievous brat. Probably preferred the back so I could draw during our lessons.

What song did you put on all your mix tapes?  Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman”

Whose portrait are you still waiting to paint? Kevin Kling

Maybe she’ll get her chance at the Walker! Bring your kids down to Free First Saturday to discover Kevin Kling and Chris Monroe and their wonderful book Big Little Brother. (And hopefully Frigadoo and Susie will be there, too!)