Do you illustrate your books? I wish! Sadly, I cannot draw,
but I had fun making the collages on this site.


How did you become an author? I started by reading thousands, literally thousands, of children’s books. As a child, I was lucky enough to have a mother who read to me every night. As an adult, my first job was reading hundreds of picture books for a children’s book club at Scholastic. Later I reviewed children’s books being considered for a catalog for parents and edited Nick Jr. Magazine’s Annual Best Books of the Year feature.

   I didn’t start trying to write books until I was in my twenties, but I published my first book at age 28.
It was DR. GLOOM’S MONSTER JOKES AND PUZZLES, published by Harcourt.


Do you use your friends and family in your books? Yes, many of books are loosely based on things that have happened to me, my kids or my pets. My PUP AND HOUND series of beginning readers is based on my dog, Hollie, and her friend Tucker.


Where do you get your ideas? They’re everywhere, if you just remember to pay attention. The idea for SPIKE, THE MIXED-UP MONSTER hit me one day when I was reading a photography book about baby animals. I turned the page and stopped short at the sight of an axolotl. I couldn’t believe this Muppety-looking creature with its feathery spikes and sweet smile was real! When I found out it was endangered, I knew I had to write a book about it.

   I wrote THE TOOTH MOUSE after interviewing a little French girl about her everyday life for a magazine. Since she was six, I asked her what happened when she lost a baby tooth. I was surprised to hear that French kids don’t have a Tooth Fairy, but a Tooth Mouse!

   I recently got an idea for a new book from a thank-you note! So you never know where ideas will pop up.


When is your birthday? January 21

What did you want to be when you grew up? A ballerina


What’s your favorite animal? I have many favorites: axolotls, hippos, otters, dogs.


What’s your favorite color? All shades of blue, probably
because I’ve always lived near the water.


Do you have any children? Yes, I have two daughters, Emily and Allison. They read and comment on everything I write.


How many books have you written? Hundreds. For a list, check Barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com or your local library.


What’s your favorite book? That’s an impossible question. There are too many! Some favorites include: THE EMPTY POT, GEORGE AND MARTHA, A HOLE IS TO DIG, MANY MOONS, MISS NELSON IS MISSING! MISS RUMPHIUS, THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE....


Favorite authors? Another impossible question. Some of my favorites are:

M. T. Anderson

Kathi Appelt

Barbara Cooney

Kate DiCamillo

Maira Kalman

Ezra Jack Keats

Ruth Kraus

Grace Lin

Richard Peck

Andrea Pinkney

Chris Raschka

Jon Scieszka

William Steig

Melissa Sweet

Jane Yolen


I am a huge fan of children’s poets. Some favorites are:

Dorothy Aldis

Myra Cohn Livingston

Mary Ann Hoberman

Patricia Hubbell

X.J. Kennedy

Karla Kushkin

Kristine O'Connell George

Jack Prelutsky

Shel Silverstein

Marilyn Singer


For more about my professional background, click here.

To send me a question, click here.