Early Reader


Posted by on Nov 2, 2016 in Ancient Animals, Early Reader, Illustration | 0 comments

Didn't illustrator Andrew Plant do a stunning job with this fabulous prehistoric aquatic beasties?

Didn’t illustrator Andrew Plant do a stunning job with these fabulous prehistoric aquatic beasties?

It’s always a good day when proofs arrive! Suddenly that collection of sketches and artwork and facts and sentences and “did we put that page break in the right place” anxiety is–a book! An actual book that actual people will actually read! Very, totally exciting.

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Amazing Whales–Amazing Book Report!

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Book: Amazing Animals, Early Reader, Nonfiction | 0 comments

This charming second-grader did a video book report on Amazing Whales. Love her command of her topic and her self-possession on camera. Nicely done!

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The Best Moment

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Ancient Animals, Book: Inside of a Dog, Early Reader, Nonfiction, Writing Process | 0 comments

This week I sent a first draft of an adaptation(Inside of a Dog, about the science of animal behavior) off to one editor and a first draft of an early reader (Ancient Animals: Plesiosaurs) off to a second.

There are many good moments in the life of a writer. Getting the first bound book in the mail. Reading a good review. Connecting with a reader and seeing that your book really mattered to her. But I tell you, the finest, finest moment of all is when a draft that you’ve been working on for months is suddenly, with the tap of the SEND key, SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROBLEM for a while.


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Science Marches On…

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Ancient Animals, Book: Terror Bird, Early Reader | 0 comments

IMG…but books stand still.

One of the hardships of a nonfiction author’s life is the way you can scramble to get the most updated information for your book, only to have those ding-dangity scientists discover brand new facts that throw everything out of whack right after your book hits the shelves.

It’s a particular problem with dinosaurs. Kids, of course, love to know about the most extreme dinosaurs (biggest! longest! smallest! tallest!). Just as you have firmly declared that so-and-so-asaurus is the biggest, somebody will come up with a newer, bigger find. Sometimes you wish they’d just knock off all the discovery for a year or two. On the other hand, sometimes you need them to hurry it up. Remember when Pluto was in the process of becoming not a planet after all? I was in the middle of writing a nonfiction book on outer space. Deadline was approaching. Scientists could not make up their minds. I was sitting there tapping my fingers on my desk, thinking, “Come on, guys, either it’s in or it’s out, but make up your minds! I’ve got to get this to my editor!”

Now, just after Terror Bird has been published, people are starting to wonder if these marvelous and outlandish birds were VEGETARIANS. No! What will happen to the marvelous illustration of the terror bird chomping up a teeny horse? And can a plant-eater be called a terror bird anyway? I’m pretty sure my editor would not have taken the book if it had been called Extremely Large Seed-Nibbling Bird.

Well, these particular scientists are studying a European species of terror bird, not my South American beauties, so let’s hope that the ones in my book can remain predators at least until the publisher runs out of stock.

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