September 18, 2015

What's a WHATSIT?

Greetings Blogfriends!

There are some new kids on the blogck, and I’m happy to say I’m one of them!

We are a little band of published picture book author/illustrators from the Seattle area called, THE WHATSITS!

Whatsit you say. . . another blog?? Fear not! You won't regret it. We will post about the world of children's literature about every two weeks and we promise we'll be short on words and long on pictures (just like our books)! 

So if you follow me here, pop on over and follow us there.

Thanks, friends!! 

August 21, 2015


Hello, dear Blogfriends!

There's change in the air, and not just the seasons!
I'm gearing up for some blog-shifting soon—so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, hop on for my interview with Mr. Henry Herz at the San Diego Children's Book Examiner:

There's a little PEDDLES and HENNY talk, as well as some other sense and nonsense: bacon? Nuclear (chicken) arms? Ghosts? Mr. Herz asks such fun questions, and his answer-banter is always entertaining! Oh, and be sure to click the link at the end for the whole interview!

You can check out some of the other interviews, too:
Scroll down and you'll find the likes of  Caldecott-types Dan Santat, Molly Idle, and Aaron Becker— as well as picture book stars like Debbie Ohi, Deborah Freedman, and Mac Barnett. The list goes on!

See you soon!

June 4, 2015

Want a Penguin?

Everyone needs a penguin in a house coat. . . right? If you agree, then now's your chance! :)  Read on:

The American Booksellers for Free Expression's (ABFE) online auction of more than 50 works of art created by children's book illustrators (including yours truly) is open on eBay through Monday, June 8.

Proceeds from the auction support the Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP) and Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the freedom to read. KRRP, which was founded by ABFE and the National Coalition Against Censorship, helps students, parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers fight book censorship in schools and libraries.

So heeerrrr's Ms. Penguin!

It's an original, signed, pencil and watercolor on paper, and it can be yours.

Just pop on HERE and bid it up--it's a great cause! Oh, and please note that the scan they have on eBay is pretty rough. Much of the subtle detail has dropped out. The one here is not perfect, but more accurate :)

Thanks, everyone! Cheers!

February 2, 2015

What's Up, Chicken. . .

Greetings blog friends!

2015 has gotten off to a great start for HENNY and me :)

First up,
Henny had the honor of being interviewed by Mr. Pig over at The Little Crooked Cottage and then was a literary lunch star in her very own bento box!
Check them out here:

and here:

Meanwhile, we're off again to New York!
We will be visiting the  East Harlem Scholars Academy in Manhattan. Henny has been selected as their Book of the Month for February, and I can't wait to share her story and some fun art projects with the kids!

Then we go to the SCBWI NY conference. It's always an informative and fun time with the peeps of the kidlit world.

Finally, the weekend wraps up with a visit to the quintessential children's bookshop,
Books of Wonder, for their February Picture Book BonanzaHenny and I are so proud to have been invited to be on a panel with the amazing Matt de la Pena and his new picture book, "Last Stop on Market Street," Toni Yuly and her new little picture book gem, "Night Owl," and author/illustrator Migy, with his colorful pb, "Away We Go."
Details here:

If you're in the New York City area, please stop on by and say hello!

I hope 2015 finds you all well and thanks, as ever, for stopping by!
Check back soon for some whisperings about PEDDLES ;)

December 19, 2014

NYPL Loves Henny!

Henny's wrapping up her first year on another high note! 
She was just named to the New York Public Library's 
best children's books of 2014 list

She's so proud, and is especially thrilled to be on the list with
so many other wonderful books! 

Here is the link to the interactive list (The list includes books for ages 2-12):

. . .and to the list, divided by categories, here:

Tis the season for giving so be sure and check out the list, 
and consider giving BOOKS for the holidays. . .
especially books from real-live bookstores)! 

So Happy Holidays to one and all! 
And thank you all for being such great friends! 
Here's to and happy and healthy 2015 for everyone.


December 7, 2014

How About a Henny?

The Holidays approach!

 The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression Holiday Art Auction is just about to wrap up, so here's a chance to own some wonderful art by children's book illustrators (including yours truly)*

Here's what it's about:

Proceeds support the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and help underwrite the Kids' Right to Read Project, which was co-founded by ABFFE and the National Coalition Against Censorship, and Banned Books Week - the only national celebration of the freedom to read.

Kids' Right to Read Project provides support to students, parents, teachers, librarians and booksellers who are fighting efforts to ban children's and young adult books in their communities. Since its founding in 2006, KRRP has opposed challenges to 222 titles in 35 states.

How can you resist? 

*AND how about an original HENNY

I've donated an original watercolor study from one of the spreads in HENNY (oh, and look-- is that little Peddles in the cart? (Back when he was but a twinkle in my eye) ;-)

Please take a look and bid 'er up!

Meanwhile. . .
I've got more travel on the horizon, as well as finishing up some final touches for PEDDLES as they come in from my art director at Simon and Schuster. I will be posting more about my little piggy, soon, so stay tuned!

Thanks, friends and I hope all is well in your worlds!
ERS, Henny, and Peddles :)

September 2, 2014

A Pig and a Cat

Two little (big) reasons . . .



. . . I haven't been around much lately (not to mention all the relatives visiting from out of town this summer):

*1. I just finished my next picture book, PEDDLES. As of last Thursday, all the final art is in the hands of my capable art director at Simon and Schuster. Stay tuned for updates through the following year. He's due out January 2016.

*2. My posterior has been in the chair every available moment working on Peddles and concurrently providing, since the second week in July, a lap for BEATRIX!  Bea is my new Scottish Fold kitten.

It was a herculean feat keeping my concentration going, as you might imagine.
My Facebook posts of her were so popular, she now has her own page. So if you want to see more, pop on and give her a "like."

Hope you all have had a great summer and, as ever, thanks for stopping by!
Oink and meow,

July 9, 2014

We Survived Vegas!

Henny and I survived Las Vegas!
The American Library Association (ALA) Conference was totally worth putting up with dashing between 106+ degree (41 c) outdoor heat, and the interiors that have to be air conditioned so people don't die. What a trip!

That said, the Henny signing went extremely well:
Game Face

The Signing

Henny's line began forming at the Simon and Schuster booth about 15-20 min before start-time.
I donned my chicken hat, and away we went--or, I should say, away the Hennys went.
 The entire case of books was gone within the half-hour time slot. 
 Yay! All those Henny's in the hands of the best book people in the world-- librarians!

Henny wore her ALA Booklist star proudly the whole weekend (even though she was in the shadow (physically speaking, of course ;)) of the Caldecott-winning "Locomotive."

Best of all, I got to meet/hang out with some AMAZING picture book people:
--with fellow PNWer Nikki McClure at her signing for "May the Stars Drip Down"

--with Caldecott winner ("Locomotive") Brian Floca!! What a super nice guy! 

with the delightful Caldecott honoree ("Flora and the Flamingo") Molly Idle

with the talented Llama's mama Anna Dewdney (holding her new gnu book)! 

YES! That IS Jon Klassen!!--also in the super-nice-guy category!

with the hilarious and ALSO super-nice-guy Dan Santat holding his book, "Beekle"

My adoration for Judy Schachner (Skippyjon Jones) is obvious. What a gracious, sweet person! 

--with writer/librarian/new-favorite-person Carter Higgins--and the creator of NINJA, Arree Chung (yet another in the super-nice-guy category)!

I got to meet and chat with THE Doris Kearns Goodwin at a beautiful S and S dessert reception. 
(I was so proud of my Simon and Schuster red author beads. I guess Doris decided not to wear hers. 
I guess that's cuz maybe everyone KNOWS who she is ;) ). 

Here's Henny looking delicious among the desserts: deftly and briefly placed for a  photo-op 
by Lori Kilkelly (see below)

and, last but not least, my ALA roomie and PB debut sister-soul-mate, Toni Yuly
Here she is holding her acclaimed debut picture book, EARLY BIRD, flanked by her devoted lit agents, Paul Rodeen and Lori Kilkelly. I had so much fun with these guys! 

There were so many other amazing, kind, and talented people I met, 
not to mention ALL those awesome librarians! 
In the end, it IS all about the BOOKS!

Here's a stack of some of what I hauled back. SO much talent and fun in one pile! 

And one last highlight-- I can now kick going to Las Vegas off my bucket list.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

June 26, 2014

Las Vegas!

Henny's heading to Las Vegas for some fun with the American Library Association!
We've packed up our buttons and bangles and are anticipating a fine time with the people who do books best!

I'll be there in my chicken hat, signing books, this Sunday at the Simon and Schuster (booth #302-303) from 2:30-3:00 p.m. So if you're planning on attending, DO stop by for a Henny hi-5!

Should be a blast--as well as a blast of heat--it's supposed to be 108 degrees on Sunday!

Hope you all are fine, and Henny and I will check in next week!

May 26, 2014

Tag! I'm It!!


My super talented friend, Mike Curato, tagged me to be part of the "Author Blog Tour" that's been making the rounds. I met Mike through the SCBWI when he lived in Seattle. I was so sad when he moved to NYC, but I KNOW he's going to be taking the kidlit world by storm when his book, Little Elliot, Big City comes out this summer. Mark my words, Mike's book will go down as an instant classic. When I last saw Mike in NY, he gave me a preview of "Little Elliot" (or "Elly" as we love to call him)--  I truly got goosebumps--it's that good.
Keep your eye on this guy! Thanks, Mike, for the tag!

Now for the tour:

What am I currently working on?

Sometimes walking and chewing gum at the same time can be a challenge, and that's just what I'm doing right now--walking Henny and chewing Peddles ;)

Henny-packed window at The Corner Bookstore

Since Henny's release in January, it's been a whirlwind of activity--including her launch party at Secret Garden Books in Seattle, and an amazing New York celebration at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan.

But I have to say, one of the biggest highlights so far was being invited to read Henny
at the Eric Carl Museum of Picture Book Art. It was a blast!
reading Henny for Storytime at The Carle

Also thrilling was Henny getting an ALA Booklist Star, and then finding out she was named to the Kids' Indie Next List!

Activity is on-going for Henny: in addition to some school and bookshop visits, next up is the American Librarian Association meeting in Las Vegas where I will be signing Henny at the Simon and Schuster booth.

MEANWHILE, my butt has GOT to be in the chair all summer for my next picture book, also with Simon and Schuster. The final art for Peddles, my little pig with big ideas, is due September 1. Yikes!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a tough one to answer. Everything and nothing is new under the sun. I am "trained" traditionally, in that I started out life as an architect, then segued over to fine art, scientific illustration, and portrait art before becoming an illustrator. All of my art work is done with paint/pencil/pen on paper. I use the computer only for some occasional fine tuning. I don't think this necessarily differentiates me from other writer/illustrators. What I can say, though, is my approach to art has been informed by the likes of Beatrix Potter, Edward Gorey, with a little John Tenniel thrown in, to name but a few--so I guess you could say quirky (combine Potter + Gorey and that's what you get, right?). Generally, I try not to belabor details, unless they are germane to the emotional state of my character. As for my writing, I tend to focus on what's going on inside the little noggins of my characters and, when I do, it almost always takes them somewhere interesting. I am a firm believer in the aesthetic, "less is more" (thank you, Mies van der Rohe).

Why do I write what I write?

I'm not sure I really know. As a child, I was very much "in my head." I think my characters reflect this. Being a kid can be tough, and I hope my picture books, in addition to just being fun to look at, strike a chord in their little developing brains. At the very least, I hope my stories will get them to sit still for a minute or two.

How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?  

I almost always begin with a quick character sketch or a doodle. I have sketchbooks and sketchbooks filled with critters of all sorts. Usually one will push its way to the fore, and I keep drawing he/she/it until a story forms. When I thought up Henny, I had been drawing birds--all sorts, imaginary and real. I had just finished a painting of a dodo and that got me thinking about birds that can't fly. Well, one thing led to another, and next thing I knew she was lookin' right back at me, sans wings and, well, you know the rest of the story ;)

Thanks again for the tag, Mike!
I miss you!

Next tag-ees! You'll love touring with these two:
Ben Clanton and Jennifer Mann (check out their photos--Henny is definitely a fan!).

Ben, my pal from Seattle who, like Mike, had to up and move east (sniff ), is the author/illustrator of a bunch of fun, FUN picture books. Most recently, the marvelous
Mo's Mustache 

and Jennifer, my friend and fellow recovering architect, whose book, Two Speckled Eggs, debuted in April to rave reviews!

Be sure and tune in to their blogs next Monday, 6/2, to read up on all the wonderful, fun, and inspiring work from these two talented author/illustrators. You'll be glad you did.

April 20, 2014

Act Natural

I haven't been in Blogland lately due to having been sucked into the unanticipated vortex that is the world of O-My-Gosh-I-Have-A-Book-Published! I most certainly am not complaining, but I am dismayed at having neglected my blog friends--both followed and following!

So in an attempt to catch up just a bit, I going to try and kill a few birds with one stone, so to speak (not to worry, Henny, it's just a turn of phrase ;))

First up is this week's post for Illustration Friday's topic, "Natural." I can't help but show this spread from Henny, since she does try so very hard to do so . . .

Now for some book shenanigans: 

Henny and I have had much excitement since her release in early January. At every turn, there seems to be more and more to do!
Here are some highlights:

--Henny and I were thrilled to be featured on Julie Danielson's blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Have a click and you can see some of my daily sketchbook work, as well as some crowing about Henny :)

--Being asked to be interviewed by The Busy Librarian, Matthew Winner, on his "Let's Get Busy"  podcast. If you have a minute or two, give a listen. Matthew is a wonderful interviewer and die-hard advocate for kidlit! You can find Henny and me on Episode #37  .

--I was asked to serve on a panel for an American Librarian Association's Booklist Webinar featuring four debut authors (This involved a 10 minute talk with a PowerPoint presentation. Yikes!).

--I was honored to be asked to be a "SCBWI Success Story" panelist at our recent SCBWIWWA conference. The conference, as usual, was a blast!

--Having story time and book-signing gigs at the following fabulous independent bookstores:
Parkplace Books   Kirkland WA
Green Bean Books Portland OR
Dolphin Books Port Washington NY

This is the adorable diorama made in honor of Henny by the wonderful booksellers at 
Green Bean Books in Portland, OR! 

 Henny in the window at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan!

Next up: Henny and I are so honored to have been invited to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for their Special Storytime!! We will be winging our to Amherst, MA on May 3rd at 2 p.m., so if you are in the area, stop by and say hello!  Here are the details:

There's much more coming up, but I'll save it for another post--which I will do soon!
Meanwhile, I'm working away at my next book, Peddles, so stay tuned for updates!

Thanks, as ever, for stopping by. I appreciate you all!

February 12, 2014


I'm so far behind in all-things-blog. Am still experiencing the whirlwind that is HENNY!
This is how I've been feeling lately. Apologies to Mr. Oldenburg.

January 11, 2014

Break Time

Thought you'd all appreciate a break from chickens.
So here's a little video of my cat.  She does this when she wants me to play with her.
Works every time.

January 7, 2014


HENNY's day has finally arrived!  She's officially hitting the bookstore shelves today!
And to herald her in, Mr. Schu is posting an interview as well as premiering her video trailer on his blog Watch. Connect. Read. (     Pop on over, in HENNY's honor, and take a gander-- you can even see her in her debut dress ;)

Thank you, everyone, for supporting HENNY over the last couple of years!
You are, one and all, simply awesome!  xxoo