How did you get the idea for Toys Go Out?
When I was quite young I lost a favorite stuffed animal called Silver Squirrel. He escaped from the outside pocket of a suitcase during a plane ride. I was very, very sad. But I always imagined he had wonderful (and sometimes scary) adventures after he left me.
I got the idea for the first story in that book (when they're in the backpack) by noticing how my cats seem to feel when shoved into their cat carrier. That's my late cat Pongo on the right.
Is there going be another book about Lumphy, StingRay and Plastic?
There are three chapter books in the toys series: Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party and Toys Come Home. Then there's a picture book about them: Toys Meet Snow. All have pictures by Paul O. Zelinsky.
What happened to the ear of the one-eared sheep?
The ear-losing incident is fully described in Toys Come Home.
Why doesn't the dryer talk properly?
She is on the fritz. That's also why Lumphy never goes in the dryer -- if buffaloes or sneakers or anything large like that were to go in the dryer, the barrel would get out of line. You can learn more in Toy Dance Party!
Who is your favorite character?
StingRay is the most like me. I am a bossyboots know-it-all at heart, but unlike StingRay I have learned to keep my mouth shut sometimes.
What is the Girl's name?
Her parents call her Honey. Do you think that's her real name, or not?
Is there be a sequel to Invisible Inkling?
Yes. Two sequels: Invisible Inkling: Dangerous Pumpkins and Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie-Pie War. But there won't be any more after those three.
Is Five Creatures a poem?
If you think a poem is a piece of writing where the rhythms of the words are especially important, and where the words can have more than one meaning -- then yes, Five Creatures is a poem.
Where did you get your idea for Five Creatures?
When my much-younger sister was in 2nd grade she was learning Venn diagrams (if you don't know what these are yet, ask your math teacher). To keep her company, I drew a Venn diagram that showed the four members of my own household: me, my husband, and my two cats. My cat Mercy was the one who can get under the fridge. My cat Pongo (that's him up there in the photo) was the one who sings loud late at night. And my husband s allergic to milk. I hung the diagram up on my fridge for several months, and one day when I looked at it, I thought I should make it into a book.
So it's true?
No. I added things (like the fifth creature). I also changed some parts to make it funnier and more interesting, which is why it's fiction, rather than a true story. For example, both my cats looked the same -- black and white -- but I thought it would be more fun for the readers if the cats looked different from one another. Also, the artist got to make a lot of the choices. For example, my cat Mercy was really the only one who can't get up on the high stools, but Tomek, when he was drawing his pictures, decided to make it the little girl who couldn't get up.
Did you write other books with Tomek Bogacki?
We've done Five Creatures, Daffodil , the Bea & HaHa books and Daffodil, Crocodile. On the later books we worked more closely together than we did on the first book. I got to see early sketches and offer my suggestions about how the characters should look. And I even got to go to Tomek's studio, which was really inspiring. Bea and HaHa were invented out of some sketches he had done — so in that case, the art work came first. Our newest book together is Small Medium Large.
Where did you get the idea for Daffodil?
My mother was forced to wear an ugly yellow party dress when she was a girl, while her sisters got to wear pink and blue. But I made up everything else in it.
Do you have dogs? There are dogs in a lot of your books.
I had two cats, Pongo and Mercy, for many years. Then they passed away and now I have a cat named Blizzard. But no dogs. I did have a husky named Trouble when I was little. My favorite dogs are bulldogs -- so I'm glad to see a bulldog in AnnaLaura Cantone's pictures for My Favorite Thing, and there's a French Bulldog in Invisible Inkling. Her name is Rootbeer. She's a lot of trouble, though.
I love to write about dogs because they're so expressive and funny. There is a pug and a bull terrier in The Fun Book of Scary Stuff. And dogs in Skunkdog and That New Animal. Also, I have a book coming up that features a greyhound.
Interested in a school visit in the New York City area or beyond? Here's a description of my presentations.
For more information, this interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is quite detailed.