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November 28, 2006

an interview with mo willems

by dj

RickshawWe at bookburger love to trot the globe...even in these times, when the globe's not exactly a cozy place. So maybe that's why we fell instantly in love with Mo Willem's latest book, You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons: The World on One Cartoon a Day, a visual diary of a worldwide tour he took just after graduating from college in 1990, when a person could hitchhike in Malaysia and not have to worry about ending up as the star of some fuzzy, scary video ransom note. Along with his best-selling kids' picture books, we really, really love Mo's record of his travels (which isn't really for kids).  You can see some cartoons from the book here...and you can meet the man himself right now:

What's the place from your year of travel you'd most like to revisit? Goreme

Visiting Goreme in Turkish Anatolia was transformative.  The caves, the paintings, the kilims, and the desert landscape grabbed the romantic in me; I’m still under its spell.

But, mostly, I’d like to go back to New Orleans before Katrina.Neworleans

And is there anyplace you definitely don't want to go back to?

It would be impolitic of me to single out one terrible place, like Singapore, and make some derogatory comment like “it’s Mall of America without gum chewing,”so I will refrain from such inflammatory talk and save myself a well-deserved caning.

If you could do an animated film version of any book, which book would you do?

Every time I look at my The Art of Monsters Inc. book, I think, “That would make a great film.”

If that’s been taken, I’ll go with Paul Collins’ Banvard’s Folly. 13 stories of people’s glorious failures would make a smashing cartoon.

As for my work, production is just finishing up on a short cartoon adaptation of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.  What makes this one especially cool is that the part of Trixie was performed by the real Trixie; Mommy, her real Mom; and Daddy by yours truly.  It was a real fun recording session.

Read the rest of the interview at

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