Behind the Illustrations with Stephanie Graegin, DON'T FEED THE BOY by Irene Latham

When Roaring Brook Press selected Stephanie Graegin as the illustrator for DON'T FEED THE BOY, I was thrilled. Her illustrations are warm and tender, and I thought her style would be a perfect fit for my own vision of the novel.

And I was right! It probably helped that at one time Stephanie wanted to be a zookeeper -- much like wee me who once wanted to be a zoo veterinarian. She used as her inspiration previous visits to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, The Fort Wayne Indiana 
Children’s Zoo, and The Houston Zoo. (I used as my inspiration the Birmingham Zoo.)

Now for the really fun stuff: Stephanie was kind enough to share her thumbnail sketches of the cover...

which turned into these more detailed sketches....

which turned into this:

As an author, it was such a thrill for me to see her interpretation of my words! I was especially interested to see what scenes Stephanie would choose for the interior drawings. Here's one of my favorites, when Whit introduces Stella to Millie. (One of the perks of being the son of zoo people!)

Stephanie's forthcoming projects include:

Happy Birthday, Bunny! by Liz Garton Scanlon (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster)

Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins (Schwartz & Wade /Random House)
Goldilocks & the Three Bears  (Sterling Publishing)

Thank you, Stephanie, for bringing Whit and Stella and all the residents of the Meadowbrook Zoo to vivid life!


  1. Thanks for sharing, Irene. I loved seeing the early sketches and how they transformed into the finished product. And isn't it wonderful when an illustrator can so perfectly capture the heart of your story? Beautiful work, Stephanie!

  2. I LOVE getting to see an artist's process.

  3. Stephanie's illustrations are lovely! I like seeing her process. The cover is fantastic!


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