I have waited FOREVER to host the talented, big-hearted, talented, fun-loving, talented, thoughtful Jaime Temairik. She is one of those illustrators who really gets a story and her art is chockfull of emotion — sometimes silly, sometimes wistful, always honest. Though I am lucky to know (a little bit) the two rapscallions who inspired Jaime’s first book, Alice and Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds, (Disney-Hyperion), you don’t have to have that connection to thoroughly enjoy this story.
Alice and Lucy were/are two of my favorite people on the planet before they became two of my favorite bears. I had the good fortune to meet them through their mom, my pal, Martha Brockenbrough.
Originally, this story was of the sisters visiting their aunt for a sleepover, and Alice and Lucy being so full of life and intrigue during the evening in question that their aunt passes out waaaaay before the kids’ bedtime… not that that ever happened to ME when hosting Alice and Lucy sleepovers.
As an only child, I have always been fascinated and envious of people with siblings—especially people who seem to like their siblings. Alice and Lucy are so loving to each other, it’s always a joy to be around them.
Alice really does approach the world with a quiet calm bordering on the Dalai Lama’s. And sleeps like her limbs are breaking through the fourth or fifth dimension. Lucy really is one of the kindest, most joyful movers and shakers I know. And one time she accidentally made a piece of cornbread fly out of her mouth no less than 4.5 feet. Both are equally loving/loved, magical human beings and I wish my bears captured one one-hundredth of their personality and humor.
Some time before 2010, I was doing a series of Famous Chefs as Animals portraits, you know, Ewelia Child, Jacques Pépig, Mario Beartali, etc., Martha says she hired me to do a portrait of the girls as bears since their last name is Berliant. And instead I wrote a picture book dummy and still owe her a portrait, but luckily I have blocked all of this from my memory. My delightful agent Stephen Barr was concerned a sleepover with some boring, old narcoleptic aunt (ahem!) was maybe too quiet a story for all the zany stuff Alice and Lucy were capable of getting up to. So that’s when the idea of child labor came up.
The official book offer from Hyperion arrived the same day as my divorce papers. I mention this because sometimes the best day of your life is also the worst day of your life and then you still have to get up and make the donuts, or the Photoshop files, as the case may be. I worked on this book before and after my day-job day, at 4am and 8pm, on weekends and national holidays, which may be a surprise to non-book makers, but is a pretty standard schedule for most authors and illustrators. I couldn’t have survived that tough time without the support and encouragement of my family and pals like Kirby Larson. And especially thanks to Alice and Lucy (in all their mammalian forms) and my editor Rotem Moscovich, for giving me something happy and silly to focus on when I might not have had it in me otherwise.
Jaime Temairik (www.jaimetemairik.com) is an illustrator in Washington state. Jaime will work for bunk beds, baked goods, and trips to Disneyland. This is the first book she’s written. Watch the book trailer here.