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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Two Birds on a Wire - Balancing with Heidi Cooper Smith

Balancing the extremes of childhood dreams, real-life realities and the myriad of other little collar-jerking moments that prevent you from ever walking a perfectly straight line is no mean feat. You'd be forgiven for feeling a little doo-lackey at times and having a laugh at yourself. 

Debut picture book illustrator, Heidi Cooper Smith is someone capable of doing just that so today in celebration of her  launch of Two Birds on a Wire, along with author, Coral Vass, we uncover 5 Fun Facts about Heidi (+ one if you're counting, because I obviously can't. It's why I write.)
  1. When I was eleven, I wrote a series of picture books (unpublished!) called ‘Matilda Mouse and the War between the Cats and the Mice” and won a school award for them.
  2. I once played bass clarinet in a quartet with my principal, vice principal and senior mistress.  Yes, I was that cool.
  3. I have the worst sense of direction of anyone I know and am appallingly messy.  I often end up buying art materials twice because something I really need is lost in the rubble! 
  4. It didn’t occur to me to use my glass drawing table as a light box until AFTER I’d traced every single spread the old fashioned way (tracing paper, shading on the back then tracing onto the final sheet) – next time I’ll save myself many hours, a perpetually cramped hand, and 2 whole pencil's worth of shading!
  5. I used around 200 reference photos to assist in the illustration process as well my children’s plastic farm animals and a toy truck to work out the tricky perspectives in the background scene.  
  6. My 6 year old took my advance copy of Two Birds on a Wire in for ‘Show and Share’ at school one day.  I told him to look after it because I still needed to take it to show the library in order to book my launch and to playgroup for a practice reading.  He rolled his eyes and said ‘You’re not going to show the book to EVERYONE are you Mummy?
Two Birds on a Wire is a sweet humorous tale that hums pleasantly along in rhythmic rhyme making it a prime go-to choice for reading aloud, over and over again. Two instantly recognisable characters, literally fill the pages, Little Bird Blue and Little Bird Black and as it transpires, one overhead wire which in turn leads to a rather flustered and heated debate about who should leave and who should stay.

By sundown the showdown is all but over. Ruffled feathers billow about on a mellow breeze and the two former rivals embrace a newfound friendship. Siblings and playground friends will warm to this tale of sharing and eventual caring. 

Smith's use of close up perspective places readers in the crow's nest as it were or rather, on the wire. We are granted dizzying views from above of the farm fields below and are able to witness Blue and Black's dispute first hand. It's a simple yet impressively effective viewpoint from which to enjoy this picture book. Fun and full of colour, Two Birds on a Wire is worth tweeting about. 

Coral and Heidi are launching Two Birds on a Wire simultaneously in Melbourne and Brisbane, 12th September 2015. Visit if you can or stay on line for the Blog Blast commemorating the launch.








6 comments:

Norah Colvin said...

This sounds like a fun read with a great message. Thanks for sharing Dimity, and best wishes for the books success to Heidi and Coral.

DimbutNice said...

Hi Norah, Excellent to hear from you. And yes this is a rather spirited read with a good message. Love the perspective used to illustrate the tale, too. A real 'birds' eye view' of it all. :-)

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