One of the most charming hits of the 2011 season was the picture book "Big Little Brother," a collaboration between a Duluth illustrator and a Twin Cities writer. Chris Monroe (the illustrator) and Kevin Kling (the writer) fit together like green eggs and ham. Both have fantastic imaginations and a quirky sense of humor, and both mine their Minnesota childhoods for their work.
Monroe writes and draws the cartoon, "Violet Days," which runs Fridays in the Star Tribune Variety section, and is the author and illustrator of the "Monkey With a Tool Belt" series. Kling is a nationally-renowned storyteller, as well as the author of the essay collections "The Dog Says How," and "Holiday Inn."
"Big Little Brother" sprang from a true story from Kling's childhood, and it is about his love-hate-love relationship with his younger brother, who was bigger than he was. This fall's book, "Big Little Mother," is about his relationship with his sister. I promised not to reveal the story, but I think I'm OK in telling you that it involves a cat, cream cheese, and a piano. Sort of.
The book pubs in November from Borealis Books, the imprint of the Minnesota Historical Society Press.