Posts Tagged ‘picture books’


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With Dilly Dally Daisy almost here…wait. You might ask “What is Dilly Dally Daisy?” It’s a new picture book I wrote and illustrated that will be released shortly. 

Anyway, I’ve been asked what exactly do I think dilly-dallying is?

I have my own beliefs on this subject and I don’t see dilly-dallying as a bad thing. The dictionary says dilly-dallying is “… Loitering and delaying and wasting time”. Harsh! And here I will part from the dictionary with my practical knowledge of dilly-dallying.

For me dilly-dallying implies a personal interest that is being acted on – even if it’s not On Topic. ‘Loitering’ is such a clinical word. And ‘Wasting Time’ implies a moral or ethical failing. Yuck.

For me dilly-dallying is not such a bad thing and it’s part of the time where our mind wanders and ideas and imagination can sprout. It’s actually the opposite of being a couch potato. It’s the behavior that often drives parents crazy because kids are SO active in their real and imaginary life. Dilly-dallying can seem exhausting to an adult. After all we have things to do and places to be we just don’t have time for all this other stuff!

Of course kids do have deadlines and appointments and sometimes dilly-dallying has to be overcome. For instance, I have to stop reading blogs, posting on my blog and composing Tweets and actually draw today.

But it’s important to keep some dilly dally in your daily life. Daisy can teach you how!

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I’m going to spend one day at Comic Con this year. One day should be enough. I haven’t been back to The Con for 2 or 3 years now. I don’t expect it to be any different but for being more crowded than I remember.

Dilly Dally Daisy comes out in a few weeks. It’s a picture book, and perfect for any family or kid that seems to find everything to do but what they are expected to do.


Kind of like blogging is for me during summer. It feels too much like homework when the sun is shining and the front yard needs work.

I just finished illustrating a new picture book. I’m guessing it’s done, but maybe there will be one or two small revisions yet. I’m very proud of it and I think it will find an abundant audience. It’s called Superhero Instruction Manual, written by Kristy Dempsey. And oddly enough it is not about Superheroes!

That’s not true. It IS about Superheroes. I won’t talk or write or show any art form it until it’s almost ready for sale. But it’s a funny and cute (in a good way) manuscript and I had great fun illustrating it.

I’m also in the middle of painting a LOT of chickens for another picture book. More at that as the feathers clear. Looking to send that off to the publisher by the end of August. Or I will try to do that – unless I’m dilly-dallying too much.

And it’s the time of year when I usually decide on a few manuscripts to submit to my agent. I’m afraid my middle grade novel will not make the cut. It’s not ready and I’ve run out of time this summer to work on it. I think it needs to stand a bit, age, ripen, cure…whatever it does when I’m not looking at the words on its pages.

But a few new picture books have bounced around enough and I think they may be read for my agent to take a look at. Or not…

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“I want to know what’s your favorite book that you have made?”


I get this question often. And it’s not easy to answer. I have a short answer, “When I work on a book, it usually takes quite a long time to finish it, so I become attached no matter how it does or what people think of it. I like all the books I’v done.”

But my real answer is that I do have favorites – but they are favorites for different reasons.

While Earthling! was a ton of work and I’m not likely to pursue a 260 page graphic novel again, it was a big story that I wrote and illustrated. It gave me the opportunity to take my characters on a very long adventure.

The Book That Eats People was the first ‘real’ picture book I illustrated and it is so zany that I still enjoy paging through it. I wish more picture books had this weird, subversive but innocent joy to them.

And a book like The Great Thanksgiving Escape means a lot to me because it was the first picture book I wrote and drew. It was great fun working with an editor who helped craft the story so my intentions were clear.

Each of the books have some aspect that keeps them near-and-dear to me. Some books are more work, because of revisions requested or perhaps I had a hard time figuring out how to solve the narrative issues. Sometimes an editor leaves in the middle of the process or the publisher decides to to take the book in an entirely new direction. This can cause frustration and insecurity, but you have to work through it. In the long run the negatives seem to fall away and I look on each book fondly because some aspect of making it involved a new challenge for me and the book is a physical reminder of the time I spent learning to overcome difficulties and execute my ideas as best I could.

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Not sure why I used this quick sketch for this post, but here it is…

I will be at the Barnes & Noble store at Bridgeport in Tigard on Saturday, May 30th. I think I’ll be there at noon or 12:30. This is in support of an eduction al event. I am going to do some drawing and talk about how words and pictures can work together to create a dynamic story.

Talk to any author or illustrator and they will tell you that bookstore visits can be scary things. You honestly don’t know what will happen, if there will even be anyone there. The employees at this Barnes & Noble always make me feel welcome and I’ve always had a great time visiting the store. So if you are out-n-about on the 30th, and want one of those giant Snickerdoodle cookies from the Barnes & Noble cafe OR want to get a book, stop on by!

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It’s great when reviews of kids books show up in general media instead of just the usual periodicals and journals that specialize in children’s books. So it’s great to see a glowing review in The Washington Post for the new book I illustrated- Tommy Can’t Stop! You can click here and read it!

From the Review: “…Here, it’s okay if Tommy can’t stop: He’s got talent! Mark Fearing’s goggle-eyed characters and cartoon illustrations suit this light-hearted tale, with every page full of color and action…”

-Kathie Meizner

The Washington Post


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Tommy Can’t Stop is dancing off book shelves and people love it. That’s because Tim Federle created a charming story that shines a spotlight on a character we haven’t seen too often in picture books.


But now my attention turns to Dilly Dally Daisy. That’s the next picture book that I wrote and illustrated and it will be released in July.


So now’s your chance to preorder at Barnes & Noble or Amazon or even better your local book store! As I like to say here, buy a copy or two for yourself and a copy for everyone in your zip code.

Daisy is a character near and dear to my heart. A kid who has a hard time getting ready – for just about anything. Inspired in equal parts by my own inability to do this and my daughter and her friend who seemingly always find a way not to be ready for swim team lessons.


You will be hearing about this a lot more on this blog before July. Stay Tuned!

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