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Dan Santat Should Be in Charge of Starbucks (Among Other Things)

Rodzilla Cover

On the occasion of his latest book, Rodzilla (written by Rob Sanders) coming out earlier this month, Dan Santat kindly took a few of my questions about unicorn fraps, cardboard humans, the Caldecott Medal, and bad picture book ideas.

Travis Jonker: Okay, you’re in charge of Starbucks. You are asked to create the next frap that will capture the imagination of America – what is it?

Dan Santat: The Beekle Frap: loaded with marshmallow, served in a colorful cup, with a crown drawn into the foam.


TJ: Speaking of, what’s something that’s changed since Beekle won the Caldecott Medal?

DS: People actually show up to my book signings. As late as a few weeks ago I was doing an appearance at a bookstore and my first instinct was that no one was going to show up. Truthfully, I told myself that if just three people showed up then I would consider it a huge success. I’d say a good 25 or so people showed up to my signing which felt nice. To this day I’m still shocked that anyone comes to see me.

TJ: Cardboard Schu even paid you a visit. What’s something people might not know about Cardboard Schu?

DS: I just found a plastic department store dummy of a woman on the side of the road in Orange County while I was on a recent book tour. Naturally, I took the dummy and brought it home.

Cardboard Schu and the dummy (which I have named, Melissa) are now dating exclusively.

TJ: What’s your relationship with Godzilla?

Godzilla - 9

DS: I have an authentic Japanese Godzilla poster hanging in my studio. I’ve seen over 50 Godzilla films, and I always secretly hoped Godzilla beat King Kong in King Kong vs. Godzilla (In the Japanese version he does)

We are now dating exclusively.

TJ: What’s the worst idea you’ve ever had for a picture book?

DS: Ugh. I remember early on before I was published I had written a manuscript about the Boogie Man. The Boogie Man was aptly named that because he liked to dance. That’s all I’m gonna say about that one. Now I hate myself for telling you this.

TJ: Well I love you for it. Thank you for stopping by, Dan!

(For more Santat, check out this interview over to Mile High Reading)

Dan Santat’s latest book, Rodzilla, is written by Rob Sanders and is in stores now.

From the publisher:

Rodzilla is the mightiest toddler to ever roam the streets of the city. Marvel at the sight of his chubby monstrosity. Gaze at his toothless grin. Take a whiff of his…no, don’t do that. Only a mother could love such a creature.

Rodzilla is taking over the city (that is really his playpen) and causing all sorts of chaos for its inhabitants (um, his parents). Can he be stopped before he toddles one step too far? Told as an action-packed news report, kids will love following Rodzilla on his mighty tear through the city, and ultimately back to his parents’ arms. Because sometimes even monsters need a little help. 

Rodzilla 1

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.