Pete Oswald Is a Good Egg!
by Alana Pedalino
Read #1 New York Times–bestselling illustrator Pete Oswald’s Scholastic Book Clubs–exclusive interview to your students and discover what went into the creation of The Bad Seed.
Was the illustrator behind the laugh-out-loud funny drawings in The Bad Seed a “bad seed” himself? We decided to ask him!
Read this interview with award-winning illustrator, animation production designer, and painter Pete Oswald and learn how he came up with such a memorable character in The Bad Seed.
Were you a bad seed when you were little? Would your mom agree with your answer?
Growing up with an older brother, I had the benefit of learning from his mistakes. When we were little, I’d like to think he was the bad seed and I was the good egg. Though I’m sure if you asked him, he would say the opposite. Whether playing pranks on our cousins or setting up harmless booby traps for our parents, we loved to conspire together as siblings do. Mom would definitely agree that we were both bad seeds.
Where do you get your humor from?
Some of my earliest memories are reading Dr. Seuss books. From a young age, I remember the feeling I would get while reading one of his books. Through his hilarious rhymes and expressive illustrations, he would take a mundane object and give it personality. His books made a huge impression on me and allowed me to see that humor can be smart and sophisticated.
Why is a sunflower seed the main character?
I grew up in a baseball family, so eating sunflower seeds was a must. Every once in a while, I’d get a bad seed that tasted icky. I’d immediately spit it out. It’s funny to think that in a large bag of sunflower seeds, there is usually at least one bad seed. This inspired a rough sketch of a walking, talking sunflower seed with thick eyebrows. I was lucky enough to collaborate with the talented author Jory John. He brought this little seed to life by creating a comedic yet very relatable story. I’m very grateful to have this partnership.
What is the funniest piece of fan mail you’ve received?
The funniest piece of fan mail I ever received was from an elementary school student. She felt like the Bad Seed was lonely and she wanted to create some friends for him. Amongst some of his new friends were the Tired Taco, the Loud Lemon, and the Lazy Licorice, just to name a few. HAHAHA! We can never have enough friends!
How did you make a seed look so expressive?
The most important trait while designing a character are the eyes. The eyes are where the reader connects. I wanted the Bad Seed to have appeal so people would be attracted to him and ultimately relate to his story. Big round eyes and thick eyebrows help him to be recognizable and iconic. I did many drawings to figure out how expressive he could be. I love a character that has many emotions.
How did your class respond to the illustrations in The Bad Seed? What new friends could your students think up for the main character? Please let us know on social media using the hashtag #ScholasticBookClubs.
Pete Oswald is the #1 New York Times–bestselling illustrator of The Good Egg and The Bad Seed, written by Jory John. The bestselling duo also created That’s What Dinosaurs Do. Pete is the cocreator of Mingo the Flamingo and works on numerous highly successful animated franchises as a character designer, concept artist, and production designer. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons. Visit Pete online at peteoswald.com.
Jory John is a #1 New York Times–bestselling author and two-time E. B. White Read Aloud Honor recipient. His books have won numerous state book awards and have been translated into more than 20 languages. Jory’s work includes the New York Times–bestselling picture books The Bad Seed and The Good Egg; the award-winning Goodnight Already! series; That’s What Dinosaurs Do; the popular picture books Penguin Problems and Giraffe Problems; and many other books. He lives in Oregon. You can visit him online at joryjohn.com. (Photo by Feather and Twine Photography)
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs