Today’s blog post is by Jane Clarke, on the inspiration behind her latest book, I Saw Anaconda, illustrated by Emma Dodd.
I Saw Anaconda was inspired by an unforgettable trip to Venezuela where my son Rob was working as an adventure tour guide. Rob, his brother Andy and I went to Los Llanos to look for anaconda. We squelched knee-deep through the marshland until we found one. Yep, I saw anaconda!
We were able to get up close to this one. It was very sluggish and sleepy, tummy bulging because it was digesting a huge meal. It wasn’t at all scary. We were careful not to disturb it because that might have caused it to regurgitate its dinner to get away from us.
On that trip, we saw lots of wonderful Venezuelan wildlife close up. We caught and barbecued piranhas, saw the eyes of hundreds of caiman glinting in the starlight, slept in a round hut with storks nesting on the roof, and used a primitive toilet where skinks and frogs lurked in the corners. We were bitten by loads of bugs, and were always on the look-out for leeches, ticks, and prowling jaguars. We were very aware we were just part of the food chain.
So that’s why I thought of a Venezuelan version of ‘There was an Old lady Who Swallowed a Fly,’ with the “I” of the story being an adventurous small boy who gets eaten. With a regurgitating happy ending, of course.
Huge thanks to the Nosy Crow team and Emma Dodd for bringing it to life with such clever paper engineering and illustrations. For me, ‘I saw Anaconda’ is a reminder of an amazing and unrepeatable experience with my two adventurous sons. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Thank you, Jane! Full of odd animals and ingenious flap reveals, I Saw Anaconda is a very funny, very silly lift-the-flap story in a great big format that’s perfect for 2+ year olds. You can buy the book online here.