Rowboat Watkins’ Most Marshmallows has been floating around my book collection since February without a permanent home. Currently living in my love this book but what category bin, on the surface Most Marshmallows is a wonderfully silly tale about marshmallows. The publisher’s summary includes most marshmallows like to watch television and lead normal lives-but some marshmallows dream of greater things. The last six pages of this book are gold. Beginning with a stark black page, the book changes course and extols the virtues of finding your own path. In of itself, this is a wonderful reason to read and use this book in classrooms. There are subtle references to toasted marshmallows and being squished by fingers. So many things to notice with repeated reads.
When this book showed up on NPR’s Top Children’s Books for 2019, I went back to revisit those tiny marshmallows and discovered not just a beautiful picture book with an social-emotional learning leaning, but a mixed media book created by a brilliant illustrator along with the story of the book’s inception.
Turns out Rowboat Watkins has been thinking about anthropomorphic marshmallows for a while. As he creates ideas, he develops small sketched scenes substituting situations and characters to better suit the message or the mood. Early on, marshmallows figured prominently in Mr. Watkins doodles and thinking. He used them as a side character in his book, Rude Cakes and also began making scenes with marshmallows, actual marshmallows, drawing their features on the sugary fluff balls and creating scenes from cardboard, sprinkles, acorn tops, and construction paper.
His process will be fascinating to students of many ages and abilities, perhaps sparking some creative story development and use of technology in storytelling. Most Marshmallows’ new home in my books has moved to an evolving collection titled How Authors Get Ideas.
References to visit later: