yak in Narwhal Plays the Nyckelharpa got me thinking about the old
rock 'n' roll song Yakety Yak. What if the beleaguered teenager
actually was a yak, and his parents were a couple of 1950s American
suburbanites, only yaks. He could have an electric guitar and a motor-scooter,
and a group of friends, also yaks, who play in a band (and maybe a moose on electric
The musical instruments were all drawn entirely by hand and eye (unlike Narwhal Plays the Nyckelharpa where I mostly hand-traced them from photos). I tried to make them as authentic as possible, especially the double bass and the 1950s Wurlitzer electric piano. I also like to re-use elements from my previous books. The acoustic guitar in the music store window is the one played by the Owl in The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, and the drum kit was last seen being played by a dozen glam-rockers in The Twelve Days of Christmas!
There are lots of "YAK"-branded items, from the fridge to the washing powder poster and the amplifier in the music store window. I think "Yak" is a funny word.
There are also a few parodies
- the Dave Bruyak record, "Cool Jazz for Hip Yaks" is a hand-drawn replica
of Dave Brubeck's famous "Time Out" album; the 5-dollar bill (based
on a pre-1963 design) features a yak version of President Abraham Lincoln, and
of course there is the Superyak comic book...
Click here to order a copy of Yakety Yak!