(John Patrick Green is the author of our upcoming graphic novel Hippopotamister, which was just announced this week!)
1. What’s your protagonist’s favorite flavor of ice cream and why? What’s your own favorite flavor of ice cream?
Hippopotamister’s favorite flavor of ice cream is Green Tea Soufflé with Lemongrass. The lemongrass is because hippos only eat grass, and the green tea soufflé is because, due to his adventures outside the zoo, Hippopotamister has developed a complex palate. Naturally the milk for the ice cream has to come from grass-grazed cows. My favorite ice cream flavors are a toss up between Mint Chocolate chip and Peanut Butter & Chocolate. When I’m feeling really indulgent, though, I make a Mint Chocolate Chip with Peanut Butter milkshake.
2. Flight or invisibility?
Invisibility! Flying would certainly be cool, but if I go traveling I’d be carrying luggage, so unless the power also comes with super strength I think my arms would get tired. There are so many other powers you could mimic with invisibility. I could show up somewhere invisible, then appear snapping my fingers as if I just teleported! Or I could pretend to be a ghost and haunt people! Or I could team up with a friend and make it seem like they have the power of telekinesis!
3. What was your favorite book as a kid?
The Giant Jam Sandwich, by John Vernon Lord. This tale of a town that dealt with an invasion of four-million wasps was fascinating and disturbing to me as a child. The story, told in rhyme, is quirky and whimsical enough, with the villagers constructing a giant oven to bake a massive loaf of bread that they can then make a giant jam sandwich with and trap the wasps in. But the art! The perspective is disorienting, the faces of the villagers downright creepy, and the wasps are illustrated in near-scientific detail. The book, to a child, is both wonderful and frightening. This book is like Jaws, but instead of a shark, the shark is four-million wasps. And, you know, for kids. As a young adult, my favorite novel was Jean Carighead George’s My Side of the Mountain. The main character has a pet falcon and a weasel! And there are pictures illustrating all the survival tools he makes! How cool is that?
4. What’s your favorite part of a book?
The denouement. Which I guess is sort of like saying my favorite part is the ending, but for me, as entertaining as a story can be all the way up to that, the resolution is where everything pays off. A mystery can build and build, but if the payoff isn’t very good, then everything before that loses a bit of luster. I do put a lot of credence in the notion that “it’s all about the journey, not the destination”, but at the same time, a good ending just makes the trip that much more satisfying.
5. What would a reading tree house designed just for you look like?
If Philip K. Dick and J.R.R. Tolkien teamed up and wrote a steampunk epic it would look like something out of that. And be made out of LEGOs.
(John Patrick Green; photo by Ellen B. Wright)