Lifestyle & Belief

'Year of the Jungle': Suzanne Collins to release picture book next fall


Author Suzanne Collins arrives at the premiere of Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games" at Nokia Theatre LA Live on March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.


Alberto E. Rodriguez

"The Hunger Games" author Suzanne Collins is set to release a picture book called "Year of the Jungle" next fall.

Based on her father's time served in Vietnam, "Year of the Jungle" will be published by Scholastic, and is Collins's first book since 2010's "Mockingjay," the last in the "Hunger Games" trilogy, reported the Associated Press. Scholastic also said the author's five-volume "The Underland Chronicles" will be reissued with new covers and that "Catching Fire," the second book in the "Hunger Games" series, will be released in paperback.

According to MarketWatch, the book will be illustrated by acclaimed picture book author-artist and television writer/animator James Proimos. The book, for ages four and up, is about a young girl named Suzy dealing with her father leaving for Vietnam and wondering what the jungle is like and if he will be safe.

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Collins described the origins of her new book like this:

"For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story. It has elements that can be scary for the audience and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those. It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book. Then one day I was having lunch with Jim and telling him about the idea and he said, 'That sounds fantastic.' I looked at him and I had this flash of the story through his eyes, with his art. It was like being handed a key to a locked door. So, I just blurted out, 'Do you want to do it?' Fortunately he said yes. That afternoon, on the train ride home, the book started unfolding in my head. There's a natural humor and sense of fun to his drawing style that makes the story approachable. As the emotional life of the main character evolves into darker places, the pictures beautifully keep pace with it, but they never lose that Proimos quality. His art made telling the story possible."