DK: Well, the idea came in a flash! Nursery rhymes sung from the point of view of characters in Shakespeare's plays! But the flash of inspiration can best be explained by our longtime wish to create something of value for our children, something entertaining and educational at the same time. And the beauty of our book and music is that in their making, we combine our love and expertise in education, music, art, culture, and of course Shakespeare.
BBB: Tell us about some of the songs that are on the companion CD?
DK: There are 16 songs, one for each illustration. Each song is 'sung by' a different Shakespeare character - for example, Hamlet sings about his dear departed friend Yorick, and Juliet wonders what's in a name. Each song also addresses a specific issue with which children can identify, whether it be about rivalry, bullying, or simply about the smelliest dog in the world. Some of the songs are sung by our daughter, recorded when she was four years old.
DK: Each illustration was first created using mixed media - for example, textured paper, paints, and fabrics. The final compositions were done digitally, incorporating scanned items to preserve the handmade feel. Many of the characters in the illustrations are inspired by our family and friends, but most importantly, each illustration contains essences of the song and the play from which the song was inspired. There are also fun "Easter eggs" for Shakespeare geeks - in-jokes for those who like to spot references to the plays. Some of these are revealed in our free parents' and teachers' guide which can be downloaded as a pdf from our website at http://www.kinderbard.com
BBB: What do you think young readers will enjoy most about A Horse with Wings?
DK: First and foremost, children love the songs. They're not typical nursery rhymes, but they do have fun lyrics and catchy melodies. Parents like them too! Children also love having the pictures as another way of entering the world of the songs. But most excitingly, children will have no idea that they're learning so much about the rich and wonderful world of Shakespeare, but they will soon become familiar with Cordelia's inability to express her feelings in words, or Petruchio's efforts in the taming of the shrew.
DK: We're currently working on an iPad app that complements the book and the songs. Children will be able to read the book, hear the songs, and also sing along to specially produced instrumental tracks, 'karaoke'-style. But the really special feature of the app is that when children interact with the illustrated the characters, the characters will speak actual lines from Shakespeare. Again, we hope that children will pick up phrases here and there, even if they don't fully understand every word. The app will be the final and ultimate step in familiarizing our children with Shakespeare's works. We've also begun writing the songs that will comprise book 2 - with the sheer number of characters that Shakespeare wrote, we're not going to run out of material any time soon!
BBB: Can you offer advice to authors who are seeking to have their work published and using Kickstarter to help fund their efforts?
DK: Yes, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Get a mentor, check out other campaigns to see what worked and what didn't. Back other projects. Contact organizations that can support your particular type of book, and ask them to spread the word. We had so much help from Shakespeare companies, organizations, festivals, and even ended up being contacted by the Director of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the largest library of Shakespeare resources in the world, offering to write a foreword to our book. Needless to say, we accepted!