Three Grumpy Trucks (Little Brown, 2018)

UPDATE Sep 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.

Illustrator Guy Parker-Rees (Giraffes Can't Dance) is great 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:

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

UPDATE Sep 2018:
  • It's out now and available at most B&Ns as well as online

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.

Illustrator is Jenn Harney, who has a unique style and did a great job.

Ten Tiny Toes - board book (Little, Brown, Spring 2018)

UPDATE Sep 2018: 

  • The book benefited from prominent placement upon release (first photo below), is still face-out in some stores after six months (second photo below), and continues to sell well.

You're supposed to love all your kids equally, but I suspect that no matter what else I write, Ten Tiny Toes will always be my sentimental favorite.

I'm happy to see it come out as a board book. Picture books don't belong to babies. When a baby starts chewing and slobbering on the sleeve of a picture book, Mom gently takes it away and says, "Let's don't chew on that, Sweetheart."

But board books? Babies can chew and slobber all over them until they've consumed their daily diet of fiber.

Long live board boards. Long live babies.

Library Books Are Not For Eating (Doubleday, Fall 2020)

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.

Publication has been pushed back to 2020, which is fine. I think it's going to be a great book--the rhymes flow smoothly, it's a cute story, and the illustrations take it over the top. (And librarians will like it.)

Illustrator is Tom Booth--here's a link to his work.

Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath (Two Lions, Summer/Fall 2019)

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.

Vin Vogel is illustrator. Here is some of his work:

Ten Tiny Toes - Chinese translation (2017)

Called "Ten Little Toes" in China, it's nice to imagine babies halfway around the world smiling and cooing and falling to sleep to this book. If I could wrangle an invitation to China to read to a group of babies and toddlers, I'd totally do it, even ignoring the fact that I can't read or speak Chinese.

My Grandma's a Ninja - German translation (2016)

My Grandma's a Ninja was one of NorthSouth Books' first titles to be written by an American author (me) and first published in the U.S. rather than being written by a European author and subsequently translated to English.

The only change during the translation process was that the main character ("Ethan") was renamed "Oskar"!

Thanks to the German version, this book won "The Golden Cowbell Award," organized by school librarians in Switzerland and voted on by Swiss students. One of the requirements is that the book be available in a Swiss national language (German, French, Italian, or Romansh).

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