Tag Archives: good night engines

Princeton Children’s Book Festival and Bilingual Good Night Engines


Copies of my new book came yesterday!  It’s the bilingual board book version of Good Night Engines.  I’ll be signing copies of these as well as Truck Stop at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival tomorrow from 11-4 at the Princeton Library in New Jersey.  Please stop by if you are in the area. There is a fantastic group of authors and illustrators that will be there.  Check it out here!  🙂


Filed under Books

Princeton Children’s Book Festival and Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins

Denis and I signed Hush Little Monster together

Denis and I signed Hush Little Monster together

This past Saturday we participated in the Princeton Children’s Book Festival.  It was a  beautiful day for celebrating children’s books!

We met a lot of interesting authors and illustrators and wonderfully supportive parents buying books.  It was also great to see old friends.

With Anne Rockwell, author of Truck Stop, and her daughter and illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell,

With Anne Rockwell, author of Truck Stop, and her daughter and illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell

With Denise Dowling-Mortensen, author of Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines--we met in 2004, the year Jamie was born and when Good Night Engines was released. :)

With Denise Dowling-Mortensen, author of Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines–we met in 2004, the year Jamie was born and when Good Night Engines was released. 🙂

I made mini donuts to hand out — they looked like these and the recipe is here:

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of them — I was too distraught over finding my cake stand had broken en route! The good news was that the pile of donuts quickly disappeared within the first couple of hours.

Jamie was a trooper and didn’t mind having to be with us at the festival all day long with no playmates.  He wandered about the four tents of 20 authors and illustrators and looked at books, sampled treats, and had his program signed by all 80 of them!

Table seating of each tent

Table seating of each tent

He also scored  cute drawings from Dave Roman (author/illustrator of the Astronaut Academy series) and Alexis Fredrick Frost (of Adventures in Cartooning fame):

dave roman sketches

By Alexis Fredrick Frost

By Alexis Fredrick Frost

Thank you so much for being so kind to my son!

Jamie also got to choose a couple books for himself and a friend which he had signed by Dave Roman and Fiona Robertson.  It’s so special when you can give and receive an autographed copy!

By Dave Roman

By Dave Roman

By Eva Ibbotson, Illustrated by Fiona Robertson

By Eva Ibbotson, Illustrated by Fiona Robertson

I knew it would be a long day of meeting people and signing books, as well as traveling to and from the event.  It’s the kind of situation where you never know if you’ll get really hungry in a place where there might not be healthy, portable options available.  In preparation, I made a dozen Shelly’s Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins to bring with us.

Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins

Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins

This recipe is from The World According to Eggface — a fantastic blog with lots of great recipes.  These muffins came in handy when we were stranded on the platform after just missing our train back to the city!  It was dinner time and we had to wait for the next train–in the end we were kind of glad we did, because we got to ride with more of our festival compatriots who arrived at the train station later.  Plus, we weren’t hungry anymore!

This coming weekend, I have more book events.  If you are in the NYC area, please come join me.  I will be at Greenlight Bookstore (686 Fulton Street at South Portland, Brooklyn, NY)  on Saturday, September 28 from 11- 12, reading Truck Stop and the board book version of B is for Bulldozer, which was just released this month!  On Sunday, September 29, I will be on a panel with Anne Rockwell and several other authors at Books of Wonder (18 West 18th street between 5th and 6th Avenues) from 1-3 pm.


Filed under Art Related, Books, Breakfast, Children, Snack, Travel, Vegetarian

The Next Big Thing

“What is the Next Big Thing?” you might wonder.  I’ll tell ya…  It’s an author blog tour that started in Australia I don’t know how far back when.  The idea is that it gives authors and illustrators a chance to share work and then tag others to share their work and so on and so forth.

I was tagged by Susan Miller, a wonderful artist I met on a bus ride from NYC to Honesdale, PA where we spent then weekend at the Highlights Magazine for Children Illustrators’ Party held every fall.  We’ve both worked for the company in the past, and it’s a great event to meet other artists and writers associate with the magazine and relax in a beautiful, bucolic environment with our families.  Susan’s work can be viewed here.  Please go check it out!  She paints adorable illustrations as well as 3-D ornaments!

As for the questions…..

1) What is the working title of your next book?

It is called Truck Stop and is written by the amazing Anne Rockwell.

Coming soon May 2013!

Coming soon May 2013!

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I think she got the idea from seeing all the different truck stops in the country.  Also, there are no truck stop books! I discovered this while doing research for the book.  So I think it will fill a nice niche.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It’s for young children and is a picture book.  Any kid who loves vehicles will love this book!

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm.  There are a lot of truck drivers in it, and a boy who is the main protagonist, and his mom and dad and uncle who run the truck stop.

I see James Gandolfini as one of the truckers.  He needs to break out of his “mob” typecasting rut.  Ah, to be a casting director…

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Trucker friends gather for breakfast at a family owned truck stop, but realize that Green Gus is missing — who will find him?

6) Who is publishing your book?

It will be published mid-May by Viking/Penguin.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Actually I didn’t, but it took a long time for research and sketching when planning the illustrations!  About 6 months I think.  We were traveling during that period, so I visited various trucks stops in Illinois and California.  I also visited a lot of diners and took many pictures and did many, many sketches.  I just love homey ‘Mom and Pop’ places.  I tried to capture that feeling in my artwork.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
As I said before, surprisingly there aren’t really any truck stop books.  But there are a lot of truck books, so it would fit with that.  I have also done two truck (vehicle) books in the past,  Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines, by Denise Dowling-Mortensen.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It’s actually written by the legendary Anne Rockwell, and it is beautiful story.  I knew I wanted to illustrate when I first read it. I love that idea of the truckers each having a different personality that matches their trucks, and also that matches their breakfasts!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book is PERFECT for young kids interested in trucks for sure!  Also any kids who are foodies (e.g. my son) will like it too.  I had a lot of fun making each piece of breakfast food out of paper and gluing it together!

At the counter eating breakfast.

At the counter eating breakfast.

I will be doing another post about Truck Stop in May when it is officially released.  You can be sure there will be recipes involved!  Also a giveaway of a signed copy. 🙂

For next week’s Next Big Thing, I tagged Nancy Doniger, who illustrates children’s books and does editorial illustration for the New York Times.  Her book Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed From a Single Word is out now.  Look for her post next week, April 11th!

lemonade book


Filed under Art Related