I'm excited about today's author interview with Steve Light. I recently had the chance to review a Steve Light's Storybox, Hansel & Gretel, and I completely fell in love with it. I should say we, as my daughter now carries it around and loves recreating the story and playing with it. You can read my review here. I'm thrilled to have had the chance to interview the creator behind these fabulous story-boxes, Steve Light.
Hi Steve! Thank you for being on Mundie Kids today. I love the concept of Storybox sets. I wish I had one of those when I was a kid. What inspired you to create your line of storybox books?
I was a storyteller in a school. One class ONLY wanted to hear the story "Hansel and Gretel". At home in my work shop I had two little pieces of wood that were the same size so I decided to carve a little wooden doll of Hansel and Gretel and use it to tell the story to that class. After the story the children asked "Well, where is the father and the witch?" So I carved those and more and found a box to put them in so I could carry it from class to class, and that is how the storyboxes were born.
Can you tell us a little bit about your planning process with the storybox sets? How do you go about creating a set and how do you decide what to include in the set itself (character and accessory wise)?
It all starts in my sketchbook ad a lot of drawing and planning. I tell the story over and over in my head, deciding what I need as far as props and what I can do with out. A lot of it is what I think would be fun for the kids to see or what they would want to play with. Can Hansel and Gretel sit on the back of the duck? How big I can make the tower for Rapunzel and still have it fit in the box? How can I make the Oni's stomach be poked with Little One Inch's needle? These are all the fun problems that I love to solve. I think about what would add to the story. Then I do full size drawing of figures and props to fit the size of the box. I then use the full size drawings to hand carve the figures. Once they are hand-painted I use the Storybox in classrooms and make changes to the story and the props and figures so that the telling of the story flows and the props enhance the story.
To date, what has been the storybox set you've had the most fun creating?
They are all fun but figuring out how the tower would fit in the box was alot of fun. I actually went to this great coffee shop/knitting store to sketch that story. I sat next to this huge wall of yarn in every color imaginable and drank tea and drew. I think the colors in Rapunzel are so good because of that wall of yarn.
One of my favorite stories growing up was Hansel and Gretel. I love stories with dragons and have a prototype storybox of "Dragon Feathers" that I have been working on. The story is still a little clunky, so I am working on simplifying it.
Can you tell us about any future storybox sets you're either working on now or hope to work on?
I hope to do "Three Little Pigs" and "Three Billy Goats Gruff" I have both done as storyboxes and have performed them for children with great success. "Three Billy Goats" is one story that I have told alot with out a story box--it only gets better with the storybox!
All the best--Steve Light