Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up and an Interview with Dave Eggers

We’re excited to welcome back Dave Eggers to share his new picture book out last month, Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up, illustrated by Laura Park and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

A duck and a prairie dog, respectively named Abner and Ian, are stuck sideways on this book’s pages.  They’ve found the perfect person to help them get right side-up — you, dear reader.  You’d think one hearty, swift shake would do the trick.  But it’s not as easy as it looks!  This odd couple’s conundrum is read-aloud gold.

Abner and Ian are a hilarious duo.  Were they inspired by anyone in real life?

That’s a great question. The quick answer is no, but then I start wondering if there is some subliminal source for these guys. Probably not, but I think there’s something inherently funny about a mismatched duo who have nothing in common but somehow are content to be stuck with each other.

We’d love to hear what’s next for you in terms of upcoming projects.

There’s another book in the pipeline with Little, Brown, called Faraway Things. It’s a more serious picture book about a boy living on a windswept coast who one day finds an old sword among the debris washed ashore. And I’m still hoping to become a professional stuntman.

Any new picture books that have caught your eye lately or favorites that you find yourself re-reading at the moment?

I recently discovered Enchanted Lion Books out of Brooklyn, and I’m kind of obsessed with everything they do. They have great taste and publish books with real attention to the craft of the physical object. There’s a new one called Noodlephant, by Jacob Kramer and K-Fai Steele, that has the right kind of timeless storytelling paired with a very pointed contemporary political message.

Where’s your favorite spot to write and/or do you have certain writing rituals?

I usually write in my office, which is in my garage, and is usually pretty messy. But today I went up into the headlands north of San Francisco and wrote a bit on a larg flat rock while watching a crow float at about eye level, playing with a thermal he’d mastered.

Favorite bookstore in all of San Francisco (existing or closed)?

I can’t quite pick favorites, because there are so many I’m loyal to. One that doesn’t always get enough attention, I think, is Borderlands, a sci-fi and fantasy bookstore on Valencia, just a few doors down from 826 Valencia. They are really kind and helpful in there, and the store is beautifully laid out. Their cafe next door just got priced out, given the insane rents on the street, so I hope the bookstore can survive these irrationally exuberant times.

Many thanks to Dave stopping by!  Also, don’t miss out on his other new picture book which was released in April, Most Likely Tomorrow.  Read more on Dave’s site about his initiatives, projects and body of work as a writer, journalist, artist, philanthropist, editor and founder of McSweeney’s.