Sunday 11 September 2016


Toto’s Apple has become a firm favorite in our house, an instant hit with reader and listener alike both barely able to stifle cheek aching laughs at the predicament of a poor (ambitious) worm and a large juicy apple in a valuable lesson in seizing the day.. no matter what… well almost!

With salutes to the likes of the great Eric Carle and Tomi Ungerer and more recently Jon Klassen and Chris Haughton this beautifully designed boldly illustrated tale is deliciously and unexpectedly subversive. 

A complete treasure of a book and one which little book worms will delight in sharing and taking a bite out of again and again. 

A Day in the Life with Toto’s Apple author-illustrator, Mathieu Lavoie.

This is a typical September day in my life. 7 am: the house is awake. By 8am we are all walking to school (the kids, the dad, the mum, the dog, a 13 year old Jack Russell Terrier named Camion [French for truck]). 8:01, Camion's first stop at a tree. 8:02, Camion's second stop at a lamp post. 8:03, Camion's third stop at a fire hydrant. By 8:06, the kids and their mum are in the school yard while I'm dragging the dog to get to school before the kids get in! 8:14, I’ve made it and kiss the kids goodbye.

The mum, the dog and I are heading back home where we both work and the dog sleeps. By 9am, we have had breakfast and are ready to start a fresh day. I founded Comme des Géants with Nadine Robert in 2014. Since then, we have both worked from our own house. Twice a week, we see each other, the rest of the time, we are magically connected via the internet! With Comme des Géants, I handle graphic design, press communications and a few other little things.

On a typical September day, I would probably be working on the layout of a book that would come out in the next winter season. That means collecting the illustrations done by an illustrator and putting them together with the text written by an author, in a layout program, on the computer. Since we publish around 8 titles a year, I work on one book at a time (most of the time). Nadine and I make the graphic decisions together (choice of fonts, size of the book, endpaper, cover design, etc.). When I'm not spending a full day on the layout of one book, I can be working on updating our website, taking photographs of advanced copies from an upcoming title, sending press releases, or working on my OWN upcoming title. And this is exactly what I will be doing tomorrow as I am writing these lines.

Back to the day schedule, come noon I have lunch with the mum (or a friend, or by myself) at home or at our favourite dumpling restaurant a few blocks away. If you ever come to Montreal ask me and I'll tell you the location. The food is amazing, cheap and the owner is very nice. We head back home and work (the mum writes and illustrates her own books, so that's probablywhat she's doing) until 3:30pm. 

By Marianne Dubuc 
At that time we go back to school to pick up the kids. They're happy, excited and we walk back home with friends and their parents. On beautiful September days, those moments are memorable.

I am back home around 4 where I keep working until 5 or 6. If we're in a crunch with deadlines, I could be working after supper, as late as 1 or 2 am. But in September, it would be most improbable. The kids are in bed at 7:30. We alternate daily, the mum and I, for the sleeping routine. After reading 2 or 3 books to kid #2 (kid #1 reads his own book unless I'm reading something very funny), we turn the lights off and I tell a made up story. And once in a hundred, I come up with something that can be made into a book, like Toto’s Apple for example. And then I'm very happy. If not, we laugh at the silly, boring story I’ve just told.

Well, that's typical!

With HUGE thanks to Phaidon and Lorraine Keating

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