Imagine a world where your couch becomes a boat, your staircase transforms into a mountain, and your dad acts as the best adventuring companion you could ever find. In the children’s book Pretend, anything is possible! Playing make believe, a father and son bond and learn appreciation for each other. Because of the amusing illustrations, the story appeals to elementary grade students and captivates early learners.Model Life Magazine interviewed the author and illustrator Jennifer Plecas to learn more about her writing.


MLM: Did you feel that you had more creative freedom being the author and illustrator of the book?

JP: Being author/illustrator is a nice place to be, since I can develop the art and the words together, and if I find I’m stuck with writing, sometimes I can work things out through in the art, and vice versa.

MLM: How did you develop your characters?

JP: With the illustrations for Pretend, I wanted the art to capture the imaginary play that was unfolding, but I didn’t want the imaginary story scenes to overpower the everyday scenes too dramatically. To me, as much as the story was about imagination and play it was also about the relationship between the father and son, and the give-and-take that takes place as people navigate creative play. I also felt that keeping the art somewhat loose kept the concept of play and pretend simple, lighthearted, and open.

MLM: Did anything specific inspire the story?

JP: Having my own children certainly inspired the story and characters. I played a lot this way with them myself, but also watching my son (in particular) and his friends swoosh around the living room with capes and light sabers, making up various scenarios and negotiated agreed-upon superpowers or dilemmas.

MLM: Do you have any upcoming projects?

JP: I have several projects underway. Recently, another book I wrote and illustrated about three kittens and their growing friendship was released– Olive’s Perfect World, with Philomel Books. I’m finishing art for another book for Philomel which I’ve also written, called, “Bah! Said the Baby!” which is a humorous look at a family working to understand their youngest member’s early speech. I’m also completing artwork for I Fly by Bridget Heos for Henry Holt–a book about flies. But cute! And funny. The main fly character looks kind of like a little Columbo, without the cigarette. I’m also working on other various writing/illustration projects, and trying to get up to speed on animating digitally.

MLM: How can your readers connect with you and find out more about your work?

JP: Readers can connect with me through my website at

This article about the author and illustrator Jennifer Plecas was reposted with permission from Model Life Magazine.

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