Five Little Ducks
Illustrated by Nikki Smith
Nikki has done a beautiful job illustrating a favorite children’s song in Five Little Ducks. I so love when the songs I remember as a child are turned into a book to pass along to my own children. What better way to instill in them the love of art and music than by having a book that emphasizes both. I love that Nikki raised little ducks that she photographed and utilized in her artwork. She had a definite attachment and feel for the Mama duck in the story.
An Interview with Nikki!
Do you have a Bio written up that I could include in my post of 5 Little Ducks?
This is what I have in my Amazon bio:
Nikki is an artist and a first grade teacher. She enjoys using a variety of artistic media. Currently, her illustrating technique combines the use of watercolor, collage, and graphic design. Her children's books bring together her experiences with children and art. Nikki spends most of her free time as a "lake girl," or enjoying the ocean. She slalom water skis on a lake in Michigan where her family lives and she has been scuba diving in Bonaire, Puerto Rico and Roatan. Nikki has cared for many wild creatures including: robins, frogs, fish, turtles, butterflies and ducks. Her work is inspired by her love of water, animals and family.
What medium did you use to create the artwork in 5 little ducks?
The ducks from Five Little Ducks are actual photographs of ducks I raised. The photos were then stylized and combined with water color illustrations and graphic designs.
What led you to decide to capture Children's rhymes into book form?
The first children's book I created was I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. I wanted to use the story in a lesson I was writing for a college education class, but I could not find a version I liked. So, I decided to illustrate my own based on the song the way my mother sang it to me as a child. I loved illustrating it so much, I started looking for other children's songs in the public domain.
Do your 1st graders inspire you to continue illustrating children's books?
My first graders inspire me to create many things! When Five Little Ducks was completed, my students demanded I bring more copies to school for them, and that definitely encourages me to keep illustrating. I have also created activity guides and teacher materials based on what is successful with my students. Most recently, I have been creating videos with educational songs. It is very rewarding to see my students excited to learn and begging for more.
Which of your works is your personal favorite?
I tend to favor my most recent work, but each of my books means something different to me. I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly was my first project and it holds memories of my mother singing the song to me as a child. I sang Five Little Speckled Frogs to children when I taught swim lessons; I had a clear vision of how I wanted the frogs to look, and they turned out exactly how I intended. Five Little Ducks was inspired by the ducklings I saved and raised. When I look at the book, I can identify the ducks by name and I remember them waddling to follow behind me.
Thanks to Nikki for sending me a copy of her book to review on So Many Books.. So Little Time!
You can find her book on her website http://www.nikkismithbooks.com/