World Book Day: Woodborough Primary interview the creators of 'The Umbrella'

We love receiving emails and questions from schools about our picture books!

For World Book Day, Maple Class from Woodborough Primary School in Wiltshire have been working with 'The Umbrella', one of our favourite wordless picture books from the Netherlands:

The children sent us the following list of questions,  for Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, the illustrators, to answer. You can read more about them here

Ingrid and Dieter really liked the questions and had a lot of fun answering them:

What inspired you to write/ make/ illustrate this book?

There is an old German story about a little boy called Robert. One day he’s going outside with an umbrella while it is stormy weather. He does not listen to his mother and the wind blows him away and he never comes back. Quite an awful story, isn’t it?

But we found the idea to be able to fly with an umbrella magical. But this time not with a little boy or girl, but a curious and brave fellow: our own little black dog.

Why did you decide to have no writing?

Every written word would have been one too many. The story doesn’t need  writing because the pictures are telling enough. Now the little dog doesn’t have to speak, because he simply can’t speak anything else than doggy language.

What is the breed of dog?

Actually, it is a mixture of many different breeds. The most dominant is probably Pudel and Schnauzer. 

Where did the dog come from?

Our little fellow comes from the South of Spain. He was found there in the streets, homeless. People brought him to a shelter for animals.  Meanwhile, our daughter Hannah was searching for a little, black dog. She saw a photograph of him and fell in love immediately. The first time she introduced him to us we fell in love, too.

Here's a photo of our daughter with Quibus:

How long did it take to travel around the world?

I don’t exactly know. I need to ask our little fellow but he’s still  refusing to answer me. I think it was as long as you’d like to travel  between dawn and sunset!

How do you not go out of the lines when colouring the pictures?

You need to colour out of the lines! That is not a mistake! If you dare to let it happen, colours can be mixed by themselves and this is amazing.

If you draw a line and you do not want to go out of it, you could make the line a bit thicker and use a small brush. But it is really more exiting not to do so.

How did the dog survive the environment?

Because it is a really brave one and everywhere he landed he met new friends, who tried to help him.

Where did you get the idea to write this book?

By using our own imagination: did you ever wanted to fly like a bird, or to be taken up high in the sky by a windblow?

How long did it take you to illustrate the book?

From the first idea, the first sketches, making the watercolours, talking with the publisher ( the person who takes care of making a book and pays for the production of that project) it took almost a year from idea to book.

What is the dog's name?

He's called Quibus. In Dutch this means a bit of a stubborn, keen, silly and curious character.

How do you draw such amazing pictures?

Well, just by doing! Use your own imagination, think out of the box and keep up your look of  all the magic around you.

And if you are grown-up and you still like drawing and painting you can study at the Academy of Arts – like we did.

They teach you techniques like collage, acrylic, computer design and all kinds of other stuff.

But be always aware and cherish your own phantasy. That is the most important thing.

Very best wishes,

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

PS Our dear Quibus is now 16 years old, which means he's quite elderly. He's not that active anymore and prefers to snooze in his little basket or sit next to us on the couch, which is really cosy. Here's a photo of him watching the cyclists outside our house in Amsterdam.