Butterflies, and a surprise! (coloring page)

It’s the beginning of the month again, and time for another coloring page—along with a surprise!

Originally, for this picture, I wanted to draw a butterfly with an ice cream sundae. They like to sip nectar, after all!

As I played with image, though, I realized that the proportions were off, and the butterfly was too small. After that, I started a second version—a butterfly sitting on a log with a bottle of soda.
I added a straw for the soda, of course, but a butterfly wouldn’t actually need one! They use their tongues as straws to reach inside flowers for the nectar, as you can see in the video.

You can download the coloring page from Dropbox, here—along with the original version
Let me know what you think!
And now, for the surprise…
When I posted my ladybug coloring page, it wasn’t meant to be part of a series. But, having started, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of creating coloring pages.
And so…I’m creating a coloring book—all about slugs, bugs, and other cuddly critters! The lad…

Picture Books: Rockets & Space Exploration

It’s time for another list with some favorite kids’ books!
It’s been almost a year since I published my own space story—The Rocket that Flew to Marsand I thought it would be fun to share some of the books we read when I was reading up on rockets and space exploration. I’ve grouped them in categories, starting with…

The super cute picture books:Life on Mars, by John Agee—When a young astronaut arrives on Mars—he is the first to explore the barren planet, but he’s determined to show the doubters wrong and prove that there is indeed Life on MarsOn GoodreadsIf You Decide to Go to the Moon, by Faith McNulty, illustrated by Steven Kellogg—A fun mix of science and imagination. (Once we started reading this book, I recognized the illustrator’s style from another book we’ve read—The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, another whimsical adventure!) On GoodreadsAstronaut Handbook, Meghan Mccarthy—Set back in the days of the space shuttle, and so somewhat outdated now! But, it’s still a fun read. O…

Who wants some cuddles? (coloring page)

Why did it have to be a snake, you ask?

Well, in the past week:
My oldest managed to catch a snake for the first time.We found the old skin another snake had shed.JK Rowling had a teaser/canon revision about Nagini.
So, yes--it was a snake. I had snakes on the brain this week and decided to draw you a cute coloring page of a snake cuddling his teddy bear.

Here's the Dropbox link, if you want to print the page and color it yourself!

(Free for non-commercial use, but please give appropriate credit to this website if you share the picture or coloring page.)

Other coloring pages:
The Singing CricketFly Away Home, Ladybug!

The Singing Cricket (coloring page)

Yes, I know that crickets don't sing.

They make a chirping noise by rubbing their hind legs together.

However, I'm going to blame this coloring page on too much Cricket in Times Square.

After creating the ladybug coloring page last month, I wanted to play with another idea--a musical insect. Crickets are a rather obvious choice, if you try to pick a musical animal. Also, we've been listening to the audio book verion of George Selden's The Cricket in Times Square quite frequently. So, a cricket it was!

The face was the easy part to draw on this picture. I did a little doodling with Mr. Cricket's eyes at the end, but the overall expression just happened.

It took me several tries, though, to figure out how to add properly insectoid legs.

Then I started wondering if he needed something more. A banjo seemed to fit, and there you have it!

Here's the PDF, for downloading the coloring page from Dropbox, if you would like to print the page for yourself!

(Free for non-co…

12 Books About Trains

I haven't written a book list in a couple of months—not since posting Trees, seeds, and growing stories, back in May.

So, it's time to do another one, and this time, it's about...trains!

We've read a fair number of train stories, so this list was relatively easy to put together.

Train, by Elisha Cooper  We found this book by chance at the library and enjoyed the story and pictures immensely. The book introduces a lot of different trains, but it does so through a sort of traveling story—as each train pulls into the station at the end of its journey, another sets off, from the lowly commuter train to the high-speed train racing into a large city.

Steam Train, Dream Train, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.  You may have heard of this one—a newer, but very popular classic-in-the-making. The story has a lot of fun action/sound words, along with gorgeous illustrations.

Choo Choo, by Virginia Wise Burton  A classic, by the author of Mike Mulligan and Ka…

Fly away home, ladybug! (coloring page)

Recently, I watched a video that showed a ladybug taking flight.

I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long in the Internet Age without seeing a video of a ladybug flying, but it’s incredible and crazy. 
Like, really, really crazy—the video was a NOVA episode talking about origami patterns in nature. (You can see a little bit of it on YouTube here.)
Is is just me--or have you never seen before how a ladybug’s wings fold up under their shell?

I think I've seen them folding their wings up again after a flight,!
Seeing that video inspired me to draw a ladybug. 
I played around with the image, tried a new style, and used the image to create a printable coloring page so that you can color your own ladybug too.

Here you go!
And do let me know what you think! 

Creating a picture book, behind the scenes

My picture, Who Laid the Egg? is free on Amazon today!
To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to explain a bit about what it takes to write a picture book—at least, according to my experience!

The original idea hatched on a cold, early morning in November…
I was making breakfast, and my toddler was helping me ‘count’ the eggs we were using. We were practicing numbers. One egg, two eggs, three eggs.
Where do we get eggs?
Well, the store, usually—but do you remember gathering eggs at Oma’s?
Did you know frogs also lay eggs? Here, let me find you a picture of frog eggs…
Hey, that’s almost like a guessing-game: ‘Who lays eggs?’
Of course, the idea needed a couple weeks to incubate, but somewhere around the end of November, I decided abruptly that I was going to make a book.
I’m not a professional artist, but I’ve some art training over the years, and this idea seemed fun—and doable. So, I got out my sketchbook and started planning.

Writing a picture book—for me anyway—can be a bit of a chicken-a…