I took some artistic license with a page from The Great Thanksgiving Escape to help celebrate the event.

Looking forward to the 15th Annual Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators! I’ll be giving a talk on Saturday September 20th in the afternoon and will be available for signing books at various times. David LaRochelle and I will be signing How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans together. That’s only happened once before when the book was released in St. Paul last year.

David will also be signing with Mike Wohnoutka who illustrated David’s awesome book Moo! And Mike has a new book out that looks great called Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster. So I’ll be tracking him down to sign my copy of that!

I’m also visiting several schools while I’m in Minnesota and will post about those visits including a visit to the elementary school I went to. I’m trying  prepare for that visit because while the school has changed a great deal, its original form hasn’t been altered. The additions have gone on behind. So I will be walking in nearly the same entrance I did for kindergarten-6th grade. It’s the place where I remember finding the coolest looking illustrated books to check out. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge reader as a kid. Though the librarians tried valiantly with me. But I liked being active.  I was always busy and I painted and drew and sculpted from a young age. And I loved being outside and we had lots of animals growing up. So books came in a distant second to doing all that stuff.

See in in Minnesota, oh-yaah!

The eBooks in progress

The ebooks I’m working on have final covers. Now I’m just proofing the interiors again. I’m sure you will be sick of hearing about them by the time they come out in October. But It’s been fun to write, design and illustrate some books that are driven by something I’d like to see, but they may not have a broad audience. That’s one issue that I think about a lot. I am often taken by ideas and projects that are not going to resonate with a large audience (see Robot Boys!). Sometimes they can be altered and revised to work in a new way that opens them up. But sometimes they just are what they are.  I have learned a great deal seeing this through so I am excited to use these little ‘hobbies’  to try things that are a little more edgy.




Having a child means dealing with The Homework Issue. Most kids AND adults don’t love homework.

My daughter hasn’t been thrilled with the reasons I give for doing homework. And I admit either have I. They are pretty big picture – to develop your ability to focus, to realize that you can learn on your own, to prepare for later in life when you need to tackle issues by yourself and…and of course – because your teacher told you to, you have to keep up with classmates and most importanly – because if you don’t have homework you’d miss-out on complaining about homework.

My daughter also thinks of me as the grown-up who didn’t grow up. I don’t shave often, I wear pajamas into the afternoon. I read kids book every day.

Now for 24 plus years of my adult life I worked a 9-5 style job (granted more like 7-9) at ad agencies, designs shops, media companies, software companies ETC. But she only knows the guy who sits at home drawing and writing.

I think it’s confusing to my daughter that my job looks like I’m just having fun all day because, you know, art in school is fun time. It’s NOT Homework with a capital H.

And my job is fun. It’s also demanding in ways a kid can’t comprehend. And some days I can’t quite comprehend.

No reason to launch into a defense of what I do and how I am prepared, or not, to do this because of my education. And she does see me during days when it’s not fun at all. And it’s frustrating and can be filled with self doubt in a way no ‘normal’ 9-5 job can be.

But why do math homework when dad sits at home drawing tigers? It will be a long couple years, won’t it!?


TGTEbooksThe Great Thanksgiving Escape, the best picture book ever written about Thanksgiving (OK, that’s subjective), is being shipped. So go order a copy now before we run out.

Order at:





or visit my website for for in-depth and behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the book…OK, honestly, there’s not a lot of behind the scenes that doesn’t involve me sitting and painting, so that would be boring. But there is more info about me and the book.

The important part is to order copies for everyone in your extended family.


Here are pages 5 and 6 that I inked and colored of Robot Boys. The story had a lot of interesting elements for me, but it seemed to lack a focus as to who the audience was.

It was a little too dark for a young reader story and probably not ‘action’ enough for middle grade. The plot twists on the fact that these are real human kids who have fallen into this mechanical world (created and abandoned by a technology company that didn’t realize what their experiments created- it sits in a bubble universe aside our own).  Through relentless competition their humanity is contiually replaced with mechanical efficiency. But sometimes the conversion process leave remnants and these boys start to recall their past. But will they try and solve the mystery of these images and memories or will they give into what the culture wants. It was and is an idea, as executed in this form, in search of an audience.




Here are 4 pages from a project that I don’t think I will be finishing. So often a project starts to come together. I write outlines, maybe even a first draft and I try some pages out to see what it could look like but for many different reasons, I move on. Th project dies. It’s frustrating but I don’t know any other way to work. This was envisioned as a 100 page comic book/graphic novel.  It was called Robot Boys and basically these young robots had memories of a past life. Life in a non-mechanical form, in a non-mechanical world. And wacky hijinks and dark subplots unfold. Well, they would have.
rb_1 rb_2 rb_3 rb_4

Above, the ‘Hall of Aunts’ from The Great Thanksgiving Escape

I’m counting down to the 15th Annual Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators at The Anderson Center in Red Wing Minnesota. I will be leaving the West Coast for a trip to the land of 10,000 lakes where I grew up.  The event features a great list of authors and illustrators who will be in attendance. I’ll be speaking and signing books and probably buying a few books. That’s what usually happens and why I have this continual issue with too many books.

I’ll be signing copies of most of my books including the oft mentioned The Great Thanksgiving Escape.

Hopefully my Minnesota friends will stop by and say oh-yah. Or just hello. I’ll also be visiting schools for 3 days. It’s a Kids Lit vacation for me.



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