Dear as Salt

Dear as Salt was the first book I did with Rafe. I was contacted from the States to do some illustrations for something he was doing for TV. Even though the program was never completed, one of the tales in it was a Slavic tale my mother used to tell me that I really wanted to illustrate.

I got Rafe's number from the company originally involved with the project and phoned him up to see if he could do the story just the same. He had had no luck in the States, he told me, so I asked him if I could shop it around in Canada. Eventually Diane Kerner at Scholastic agreed to publish it, and here it is!

Dear as Salt employs the classic folktale motif of a king who asks his daughters/sons how much they love him (Shakespeare's "King Lear" starts off in almost the exact same way). Whereas two of his daughters flatter him with extravagant comparisons, his youngest tells him she loves him as much as she loves salt. This answer enrages the king who banishes his daughter. Through some clever machinations on the part of the Queen, however, the King soon sees that life without salt is indeed like a life without color.
early work