After two years of meticulously composing the story and creating the illustrations, William Smith alumna Kate Schruth ’05 has self-published her first children’s book, “The Animal Builder.
“The picture book is about a giant anteater that creates animals out of things he finds in nature,” explains Schruth, who was inspired by a painting that hangs in a Mexico City museum of a bird being tuned up at a workbench. “It was this idea that animals could be pieced together in a workshop that captured my imagination.”
The book has been a labor of love for Schruth. “All of the illustrations are hand-cut paper, so while it’s very striking, it was also incredibly time consuming,” explains Schruth.
Giving the images dimensionality and texture, the multi-layered paper cutouts help the story come alive and invite the readers to open their imaginations as the anteater uses birch bark to cut out a zebra coat and sea glass to build butterfly wings.
Many children have vivid memories of the books that they read as children and, Schruth admits, she was no exception. “Thanks to my parents, I grew up with a slew of beautiful picture books,” says Schruth. “I loved the darkness of Chris Van Allsberg’s books and the level of detail in Jan Brett’s illustrations.”
However, she also admits that Hobart and William Smith Colleges played into her development as an author and artist. “I had some great art teachers and some even better poetry teachers,” explains Schruth. “They instilled a bar that was high enough that I’m still striving to reach it. Without their influence, this book would not be a reality.”
Prior to becoming an independent children’s author, Schruth wrote reviews for the Ice Cream Man website and Midtown Lunch while she lived in New York City. She has also done illustrations for T-shirts and zine covers, including being recently featured on the front page of “Off the Wookie,” Ice Cream Man’s annual free zine.
“The Animal Builder,” recommended for children ages 3 to 6, is available at the College Store for purchase, or can be ordered online at Amazon. For futher information about the book or author, check out her website: www.KateSchruth.com; or the Animal Builder Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Animal-Builder/264061490285291.
Schruth earned her B.A. in English from William Smith, where she minored in arts and education and was a member of WEOS.