Ik heb mij voorgenomen om ons kleintje zo min mogelijk auto’s voor te schotelen (een gebrek dat ze genereus compenseert door elders enkel met ‘tu-ta’s’ te spelen), maar er zijn ongetwijfeld papa’s die hun kroost wel een octaanopvoeding willen geven. En die zullen zich met zekerheid al eens afgevraagd hebben waarom er zo weinig autolectuur voor kinderen bestaat; een constatering die Dwight Knowlton ook maakte…
“I think that the perfect automotive children’s book would be one that’s equally appealing to the kid sitting on a lap and the father on whose lap the kid is sitting” stelt Knowlton op Petrolicious. Zijn oplossing? Zelf zo’n kinderboek maken. In de eerste plaats voor zijn zoon, maar bij uitbreiding voor elke liefhebber in wording – mits hij voldoende fondsen bij elkaar krijgt. Daarom doet hij beroep op KickStarter, een online platform om geld voor start-ups in te zamelen, zoals uit onderstaande Q&A blijkt:
Q: What, in your opinion, makes a perfect automotive picture book?
A: One of the things that became obvious when I was searching for the perfect book was that publishers believe that they have to dumb down the car in order for kids to get it. The car had to have eyes, had to act goofy and sneeze, and other gimmicks like that, and I don’t share this belief.
Q: Can you give a brief synopsis of the story?
A: Well, the story begins with a beauty of a Maserati 300S crossing the finish line at a great race such as Sebring or perhaps the Nurburgring. But as it ages, the car ends up forgotten and eventually boarded up in an unused barn. Decades later, it’s discovered by a boy and rebuild with his dad. During the tear down, they even discover a pack of papers tucked away in the car that reveal this Maserati as a car once raced by the great Stirling Moss—one of the greatest drivers ever to have gripped a wooden wheel!
Q: You have put a lot of effort into ensuring a high level of accuracy in the most minute detail of the illustrations. Why do you think it was necessary?
A: I set out to do two things to make sure the story is not dumbed down. The first is the illustrations. For example, if the car is going into a turn, then I want it to be leaning the right way. This may appeal more to the adults, but it’s fun for the kids, too. It makes the illustrations more dynamic. I want all the detail on the car, such as placement of gauges, to be accurate as well.
The second is accuracy of the story. What I’m trying to do is to tell the whole story but make it more succinct. There’s a part in the story, for example, where the father and son unbolt the Weber carburetors and tear them down on the workbench. I want the kid to know that there is such a thing as a carburetor. Think of it as a series of micro-stories. They took six hours to rebuild the carburetor, but I might say it in only 12 words.
Q: What’s your dream goal if the Kickstarter project gets funded?
A: It would be incredible to me for this brand to have some longevity. You know, each car-producing country has historically been associated with a color. The British with their racing green, the Italians with red, the Germans with silver, and the French with blue. I really hope to hit each of these iconic themes from each of those countries. For example, I’d love to do a book about a Jaguar XKSS in British racing green. For my next book, I’ve already thought about the title and subject. It’ll be called the Small Silver Speedster and it’s going to be about a Porsche 550 Spyder.
Maar weet je wat nog het beste is?
Knowlton heeft het gehaald, de 25.000$ is (royaal) binnen en de boekenreeks in wording!
[Lees de volledige Q&A op Petrolicous.com]