The Punctuation Station Q&A with Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

By Carol Hinz
Editorial Director, Millbrook Press

Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is the illustrator of The Punctuation Station. She loves vampires and werewolves, though neither appear in the illustrations for this book. She lives in Amsterdam with her husband and two children.

Punctuation cover Q: How did you decide to make the main characters in this book a family of giraffes?

A: I have always found giraffes to be gentle, elegant and intelligent animals. It just felt right; it’s a feeling. Very difficult to explain.

Q: In this book, Punctuation Station is an actual train station. Did you visit any train stations as you were researching this book?

A: I visited the Amsterdam Central Station, but I did a lot of research on train stations throughout the world, especially the very old ones on the Internet. I even researched the railroad signs.

Q: What was your favorite scene to illustrate?

A: My favorite scene is the apostrophe page. It was the most challenging piece to illustrate. It had a lot of depth and I thought the artwork illustrated the definition of apostrophe in a very clever way.

Punc_18-19 (Click on the image above to enlarge)

Q: Do you have a favorite punctuation mark?

A: The question mark is my favorite punctuation mark. I like the idea that we can question everything and the answers we get makes us think of more questions. Questions come from our curiosity, hunger for knowledge, and not just accepting what is given. Always question.

Punc_28-29 (Click on the image above to enlarge)

Q: You have young children. Do you think they learned something new about punctuation because of this book?

My children are a bit young at the moment to understand what it means, but my daughter have enjoyed watching and questioning the process from the early sketches to the final book. I hope to pass this book onto her to let her know that learning can be fun and enjoyable.

Punc_sketch_14-15 (Early sketch of the apostrophe spread—click on the image above to enlarge)

Thank you, Joanne!