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OTHER PEOPLE’S FLOWERS: Monsieur D’Atouffe, Tortoise of Taste – words by Sylvia Selzer, illustrations by Evie Chapman

SYLVIA SELZER I wrote part one of Monsieur D’Aouffe more than forty-five years ago to entertain my nine year old daughter Sarah on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Many years later, a friend working for a well known childrens’ publisher, advised that, extended, and illustrated by a colleague, it would stand a very good chance of being published. I wrote part two and completed the piece. Sadly, the publisher reduced staff and projects at this time and D’Atouffe was abandoned.

This year, while researching material for OTHER PEOPLE’S FLOWERS, David rediscovered the forgotten file and suggested that our granddaughter, eleven year old Evie, would be the perfect illustrator – and my interest in the piece was rekindled.

On the writing of Monsieur D’Atouffe, I have absolutely no idea where the story came from. I have spent my professional life in education as a teacher, head teacher and university lecturer. During that time, I wrote plays for and with young people. I also was an active board member and in-house photographer of Action Transport Theatre where I had the opportunity to have a short play professionally produced. I have also written a full length screenplay. All this time I have been surrounded with children and young people and their enthusiasms.  

Monsieur D’Atouffe is my first poem…

EVIE CHAPMAN I have been interested in art for as long as I can remember. I mainly enjoy doing drawings, though I am still interested in doing other forms of art such as painting or online artwork. However, even as I do enjoy most types of art, I do not have a specific art role-model to look up to. I see different artworks that to me are anonymous and I get my inspiration from them.

I have enjoyed working on Monsieur D’Atouffe firstly because it has been my first ever time illustrating for a book, and secondly I have no other experiences to compare it to. Nevertheless, I know in the future it will always be an experience that stands out to me.

In my illustrations of Monsieur D’Atouffe the materials I used were various watercolours, pencil (for the sketches), graphic markers for the line art and a gold pen.

SYLVIA SELZER
PHOTOGRAPHER STORYTELLER
www.sylviaselzer.com

© Copyright David Selzer
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7 Responses
  • Julie Jones
    December 31, 2021

    This is wonderful!

  • Mary Clark
    December 31, 2021

    So much fun! And the drawings are excellent.

  • Howard Gardener
    January 1, 2022

    Fabulous. It sounds just like all the shops in Les Puces combined! Great piece of work – and such wonderful illustrations too. Well done, both of you.

  • Ashen Venema
    January 1, 2022

    Delightful. Love the evocative scenario and the illustrations.

  • Tricia Durdey
    January 2, 2022

    Extraordinary piece, quite gothic, a little unsettling, surreal. The drawings are amazing, and the piece works beautifully as a whole. It could be made into a lovely, actual book.

  • Elise Oliver
    January 4, 2022

    What an imagination you have, Sylvia! The whole poem is like a weird dream – it’s a melting pot of surprises, underpinned by the message of tolerance and consideration. Evie’s illustrations are ace – I particularly liked the ‘Singer’ with the pointy bosom, as per The Ride of the Valkyries. Very clever.

  • John Huddart
    January 4, 2022

    I can think of nothing more to add. Obviously you are both doomed to be celebrities!

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