Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mom to Mom: Sandra Boynton

I first became familiar with Sandra Boynton in the late 70's through her greeting cards. In the 90's, I stood on line at FAO Schwarz to have some books signed for my niece. The book, "Moo Baa La La La" was one of Satchel's first loves. We've read it so often that I can still recite it by memory and do so when we're in the car and need a little humorous centering. A little Penguin and book came to live with us last Christmas. There's a Boynton for bedtime and now there's a Boynton for the bath!

Sandra has launched a new project entitled, "Blue Moo" a cd and songbook set of fifties style music. It's a swell little package...the cd looks like a mini "45 record" - do you remember those? It features some legendary artists like B.B. King who, in my humble opinion, is way too cool to be a human.

What I admire most about Sandra is her ability to manifest her dreams and try new things. She doesn't limit herself and she's not afraid to ask for what she wants. It is with great joy that I humbly introduce (or reacquaint) you with Sandra Boynton....

Sandra Boynton
Of: Caitlin (28), Keith (26), Devin (23) and Darcy (17)
Where: Connecticut
Site: Sandra Boyton

1. In what ways has becoming a mother changed you?

The opportunity to see the world through a child's understanding is truly transformative. My perspective--not to mention my pile of laundry--is immeasurably increased.

2. What is one tip you would like to share about mothering?

Hmmm. Delight in your children exactly as they are. Let them play. And take time to play with them. Schools like to talk a lot about "preparing children for life" but of course this IS their life, and I believe it's the most important time. Beware of television--on a certain level, no matter how apparently worthy the content, I think the interaction with the medium itself is passive and non-creative. Um...was that one tip? I lost count.

3. Tell us a little about how you juggle being mother/author/illustrator/director?

Well, every mother juggles way too many things. You just keep going, and keep smiling, and try to remember to feel peaceful and grateful.

4. What inspired you to create your new song-book sets?

I felt there was a decided shortage of nuanced and sonically-complex music available for kids. I strongly believe children's music should be many-layered in its lyrics and composition and implied narrative; that the performance should be skillful and surprising; and that the recordings should be equally interesting for children and adults.

5. How do you go about assembling the group of artists?

With optimism and naivete. First I create, with my songwriting/producing partner Michael Ford, a very tight full-instrumental demo of each song (Mike usually sings the demo lead.) Then I shoot for the moon: I send the demo to the manager of the recording artist that I think would be best for it. For Blue Moo, I wrote an early Beach Boys style song called "Speed Turtle," and so I figured, Why not ask Brian Wilson? And he said yes. Whoa.

6. What was it like to work with these legendary artists?

Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I never ask a singer who is not an absolute favorite of mine. And for Blue Moo especially, many of these singers are the heroes of my childhood, so it's unreal to be in the recording studio working with them, an absolute dream come true.

7. Where do you think your creative process will lead you next?

I'm not a planner. I'll be curious to see!

8. Lastly, what moves you, grounds you, fills your well?

Chocolate, of course.

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posted by Wendy at 5:18 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Major League: "I'm not a planner." World Series: "This IS their life."
Grand Slam: "You just keep going."
You've hit the big time, Wendy. I'm so happy to read all this here.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Nancy Bea Miller said...

Wow, you interviewed Sandra (gasp!) Boynton!? She is simply amazing and inspiring. And funny too! I'm totally in awe!

3:39 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

i'm in total awe of sandra too :-)

3:59 PM  

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