Three Grumpy Trucks (Little Brown, Fall 2018)

This book follows the same story structure as Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! The child protagonist is the adult, and his tantrum-throwing trucks are the kids. Get it? It's a metaphor.

Guy is going to be a great illustrator for this. He is known for animals, but I love the way he gives them toddler-like exuberance. The three grumpy trucks are just toddlers, after all. How great are these illustrations?

I want to frame this one and hang it on my living room wall:

And yes, he has drawn at least one vehicle in his life:

I'm excited.

Library Books Are Not For Eating (Doubleday, Fall 2018)

It started as an idea in February 2016. All I had was the title: "Dinosaur Librarian."

I wrote the first several drafts in prose. The protagonist was named Mr. Saurus.

14 drafts and 9 months later, it was a rhyming story starring Ms. Bronte. Much better name, don't you think?

It sold in the first round of submissions.

Illustrator is Matt Hunt--here's a link to his work.

How to Become a Knight (in 10 Easy Lessons) (Sterling, Fall 2018)

A bumbling instructor "teaches" a smart boy how to become a knight.

I was channeling four classic characters here for the "wise" instructor (see how many you recognize): Ted Baxter, Barney Fife, Inspector Clouseau, and Super Grover.

Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath (Two Lions, Spring 2018)

How much trouble can a little boy possibly get into simply by taking a bath?

Picture Curious George as a ninja and you've got the basic concept.

Meine Oma ist Ein Ninja (NordSud, 2016)

This, as you might guess, is the German version of My Grandma is a Ninja

The character Ethan is changed to Oskar; otherwise no changes.

One of the benefits of a publisher like NorthSouth (or NordSud, if you will) is their strong European presence, which results in happy circumstances like being able to claim that I've written an additional book without actually having to do anything.

Beep! Beep! Go To Sleep! (Little, Brown, 2015)

Illustrated by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco. This is the story of a boy who struggles to put his rambunctious robots to bed.

My son Samuel loved mechanical things when he was a little boy (and still does as a big boy). Robots and rocket ships and space have a boyish wonder, but--not to get too philosophical--they represent the deeper questions about our place in the universe. When I think about the meaning of my life, I think a lot about Sam. So this is my book for him.

Little, Brown featured it on the cover of their fall catalog...

...Publisher's Weekly gave it a starred review... was featured in the New York Times...

...released in paperback by Scholastic...

...and here are some awards that it won:

  • ALA/ALSC Notable Children's Book, 2016
  • Bank Street College: Best Children's Books of the Year, 2016
  • Chicago Public Library: Best Picture Books of 2015
  • Huffington Post: Best Picture Books of 2015
  • Early Childhood Education Zone: Best Children's Book Since 2013

Three little robots,
Time for bed.
Time to dim
Your infrared.

Brush your rotors
‘round and ’round.
Clean your shields
And power down.

My Grandma's a Ninja (NorthSouth, 2015)

Illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou. (I can't pronounce it either.) It's my first published non-rhyming book, and targeted to a slightly older audience (ages 4-8) than my first two books. It features a boy named Ethan, like my own son, and a ninja grandma, like my own mom. 

My grandma came to visit last week. She's a ninja!

It was fun.  At first.

Instead of riding the school bus to school, we took a zip-line. We zipped past the crossing guard so fast, his uniform blew off.

All my friends were like, whoa.

Ten Tiny Toes (Little, Brown, 2012)

Illustrated by uber-talented Marc Brown, creator of the Arthur series. It was an Amazon #1 Hot New Release in New Baby Books, and was featured for several months as a Top Pick in Picture Books at Barnes & Noble. I wrote "Ten Tiny Toes" as a love letter to my sons, Samuel and Ethan, whose toes would now be kinda gross to nibble, but back in the day....

Into the world
Came ten tiny toes
A hundred times sweeter
Than one could suppose

Toes that were tiny
And tender and tasty
Toes more delicious
Than cinnamon pastry

Toes you could nuzzle
And nibble in bliss
Toes you could pattycake
Into a kiss

How About a Kiss For Me? (Dutton, 2010)

This was my first picture book; it's about the joy of kissing! It was featured for several weeks at ToysRUs, and subsequently released in paperback by Scholastic in 2011. It's a great book for Valentine's Day or any time you need kisses.

Do you like to kiss a dog?
Do you like to kiss a frog?

Do you like to kiss a pig?
In the mud and very big?

Do you like to kiss a cat?
Do you like to kiss a bat?

Do you like to kiss a cow?
Look, here comes one, kiss it now!


I always have multiple manuscripts in circulation with publishers. I put a lot of effort into writing and polishing each one until I think it's going to be a runaway best-seller.

Then it gets shown around and--generally--rejected by Publisher A...then rejected by Publisher B...then...all the way to Publisher G or H, at which point it is retired to a folder on my Google drive called Todd's Manuscripts, which gets bigger every year.

Here are a few of my favorite unpublished (so far) manuscripts...

"The Ninjas 'fore Christmas" - Nine little ninjas help Santa deliver gifts to the dreaded pirates in the village below

"Dear Baby" - A daddy's love letter

"13 Ways to Cross a Puddle" - A creative boy demonstrates the options

"Choo! Choo! I Love You!" - Three little train cars venture beyond their circle track

"Helicopter Parents" - A baby human is adopted by well-meaning helicopters

"Best Wedding Ever" - A boy mistakenly believes he is going to be a Ring Bear

"The Furry Four" - Four bumbling superhero canines save the world from evil robot squirrels