The idea for The Pointless Leopard first came on a rainy weekend, as we were debating whether to set off to the countryside with the kids. A friend said not to worry as “all children love it in the country”, which immediately made me think: says who? I’m a city kid myself, and I know for a fact that not all kids love the country, especially when it’s raining. This is how I had the idea of Leonard, a typical little Parisian, a bit snotty and assertive, who would be dragged to the countryside by his parents and would criticise everything.
Then I had no idea how to take the story forward and stopped. I made at least fifty different versions of the book, with a kid and animals, going to the country, the city, etc. but I wasn’t getting anywhere. The kid was annoying and superior. It only started making sense when the tables turned and the animals took over. Now they were asking the questions, and the kid was on the back foot, trying to explain his purpose and not lose face.
There is no grand existential point to the book. I was rather trying to point out how often children are not seen by adults as the people they are today, but rather as future grown-ups. Whereas I precisely write for the child I once was, as children are cleverer and have a better sense of humour than adults. Also adults don’t ask as many questions…
I then chose Delphine specifically for her excellent line drawings, which I thought would be perfect for Leonard!
Colas Gutman and Delphine Perret have each published over dozen children’s books, and Delphine has illustrated many more. The Pointless Leopard, translated from the French by Stephanie Seegmuller, is published by Pushkin Children’s Books. Read more.