I hope you’re not sick of books because I am BACK with more behind-the-scenes tidbits. Gotta get more reviews! I went through and tallied which books really need reviews and which ones don’t (For some reason Who’s Coming to Dinner, Little Hoo has 122!! Weird.) so I’ll let you know when I get to the ones that REALLY need reviews and are blowing around in the desert with the tumbleweeds. Secret Agent Josephine’s Numbers This one is an oldie but a goodie. I actually still love this book. A lot of my books I hate after a time. Almost all the spyware in this book has stood the test of time except maybe the solar-powered super phone with a 500 gig hard drive! LOL. Note to self: do not include techno gadgets in books that will last longer than your imagination could foresee into the future. If you have a kid into spy gadgets, this one might be a good one for you!
Good Night, Kitty Kitty! If you are a cat lover, this is the book for you. You know I am. It’s all about the shenanigans cats play when you are trying to sleep. Knocking things off your dresser, getting the zoomies, meowing for food… If you have a cat you know how it is.
I wrote this one for my friend Bethany, the snake lover. Bethany is one of my very best friends and she looooooves reptiles. She loves all animals but snakes and lizards are her preferred pets because she’s terribly allergic to the furry ones. Because of her, I’ve met many reptiles in my life and I’ve grown fond of them too. This book is about a fictional snake who likes to snack. (As opposed to real snakes who don’t eat things like tortillas or jelly beans…) Bug gave me the idea for the title but she wanted me to write a book about a snake who eats funny-shaped items and then you can see the rectangles and octagons and whatever other shapes showing up in the snake’s body. Instead, I chose to write this book about how a snake who likes to snack all day and then not eat his dinner. Kinda like someone else I know. I may have been a bit peeved at my kids who snacked on chips at 4 pm and then didn’t want broccoli and zucchini in their dinner at six. Now I’m a little more open-minded to kids grazing but that’s beside the point. Anyway, it’s a cute book about snakes. Snakes can be cute! You just have to look at their little snake faces!
My Good Dog is the first in a series of easy readers by Katrina Streza. I forgot how fun this book is. The dog fishes in the fishtank, eats spaghetti while pulled up to the table and even goes into outer space. Space dog anyone? It’s a very simple read about crazy things a dog IS NOT doing but I think kids will like it.
My Cat is Sad is the next book in the Cat and Dog series by Katrina Streza. I think this book should be titled My Cat is Angry but I guess “angry” is not one of the level one reading words. Basically, in this book, the well-intentioned little boy tries to love his cat but pretty much pisses her off by playing too rough and dumping water on her head. Don’t worry, no animals were harmed while making this book. I think most kids will have common sense to know that cats don’t like being chased under the bed etc…
My Cat, My Dog You can guess what this ones about. A good cat and a bad dog sometimes getting along and sometimes NOT.
My Cat is Fat isn’t actually about a fat cat. It’s more of a guessing book. Is my cat a stinky skunk? No! Is my cat a flat fish? No! And so forth… It’s a beginning book for young readers to start learning about adjectives. Fat cat, stinky skunk, pink pig etc..
My Cat Sits This one kinda cracks me up. Have I mentioned that the thing I like best about writing children’s books is making little jokes and illustrating circumstances literally that couldn’t actually happen in real life. Yes, I enjoy that. This book is about all the places cats like to sit and then what would happen if the little boy sat there. In the sink, in a tree, on a computer. Hilarity ensues. Learning to read as a first grader or kindergardner is hard enough, we might as well get a laugh out of it.
Cody Eats Oh the Cody books! How I miss my dog, Cody. Yes, I go see him from time to time. Payam and I are broken up but are friends and I’m allowed to visit Cody and Whiskey whenever I want. They miss me terribly. I try to make up for it by bringing them my empty peanut butter containers. So yes, this book is about Cody eating all the things. He eats rocks, soap, flowers… typical Golden Retriever behavior in an easy reader!
Cody Eats Everything If Cody Eats wasn’t enough for you we have Cody Eats Everything! Because Cody literally does eat everything. Remember that time he ate our house? In this book he eats butter, cat food, people food… yep, that’s Cody!
And that’s all I have time for today! See you soon with another passel of book tidbits!
I’ve written and illustrated a lot of books. Many of them are very short. A lot of them are easy readers that are only 8 to 16 pages long. Some of them are Spanish translations that were not even translated by me. When people say Wow, you’ve written over 80 books! I have to shrug it off. It isn’t that many. I just kept plugging away, you know? That’s what you do when you are a single mom, working from home. You plug away. I could have written a lot more and I am still working on more… I could have written more masterpieces and spent more time on the details. I hope to do that in the future.
In the meantime, I’m looking for reviews. Reviews can make or break a book and where these books are sold (Amazon and Barnes and Noble online) books without reviews are books that are lost in no man’s land. They are just sitting out there all sad and morose in the dust with the tumbleweeds, wishing someone would read them. Poor books. So I’m asking my friends and family and you guys for some love in the form of a review or two! Just a few sentences. You don’t even have to write nice sentences though that would be best, of course. People do sometimes actually read the reviews and sometimes bad reviews can be more helpful than good reviews. Though bad reviews kill me slowly and painfully so don’t leave one if you don’t have to.
The nitty gritty is that the more reviews there are, the more of a chance my books have of moving up the chart on Amazon. I admit not a lot of these books bestsellers but some of them could be. Some of them I’m really proud of. I’ll go on about them below if you have the time to keep reading.
If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read these books for FREE on most days! Just a few sentences and I would be eternally grateful! I wish I could offer something in exchange for a review but that’s totally frowned upon and probably illegal.
Without further ado, may I present:
THE BIG LIST
Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes
Secret Agent Josephine in Paris
Hey, Kitty Kitty!
Secret Agent Josephine’s Numbers
Good Night, Kitty Kitty!
Snackle the Snake Likes to Snack
My Good Dog
My Cat is Sad
My Cat, My Dog
My Cat is Fat
My Cat Sits
Cody Eats Everything
Cody Poops Everywhere
Cody Sheds Everywhere
Cody Barks at Everyone
Knock Knock Boo Who?
It’s Snot Fair!
Knock Knock, Moo Who?
Knock Knock, Lettuce In!
Knock Knock, Blub Blub!
You are the Coolest
Knock Knock, Red, White, and Blue!
Too School for Cool
Knock Knock, Woof Woof!
Knock Knock, Olive You!
Knock Knock, Meow Meow!
Merry Christmas, Little Hoo!
Who’s Coming for Dinner, Little Hoo?
Happy Birthday, Little Hoo!
Who’s There, Little Hoo?
Little Hoo Goes to the Beach
Little Hoo Goes to School
Happy Easter, Little Hoo!
Little Hoo has the Flu
Little Hoo Gets the Wiggles Out
Little Hoo Goes Camping
It’s Not About You, Little Hoo!
Good Night, Little Hoo (Coming soon!)
Little Hoo Makes Valentines
Time to Get Ready, Bunny!
Time for Bed, Bunny!
Time to Eat, Bunny!
Time for Bunny (A bundle of all three Bunny books)
Nat Plays Baseball
Nat Can Code
Nat Can Help (link not working for some reason)
Raj Gets a Puppy
Raj Plays Soccer
Last Day of School
Where are You?
Ballet Lessons for Su
Nat Visits the Museum
Ready for the Test
Buddy is a Puppy
Su and Kat
Buddy Plays Fetch
Raj Cleans Up
Nat and Raj
Bandit Eats Grass
A Bath for Bandit
Let’s talk about them!
Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes. This book was written by my co-partner at Mettaprints’ husband, Chris Bickley. I told him I wanted to write a book about slime because my girls were really into slime back then. Joon used to beg for it daily. I hated slime because it got on everything. It stuck everywhere, I was constantly trying to get it out of backpacks, clothes, sheet, and rugs… it was such a pain in the neck trend back then. Do you remember? Chris turned out to be a pretty good poet and he turned out this yarn quickly. Illustrating it took a lot longer but it was fun. I only wish steam actually worked on slime. Wouldn’t that be amazing? We were inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat story where the parents leave the house and all hell breaks loose.
Be Mine is literally a book form of the “valentags” I made way back in the day. I tried to find a link to those old Valentine tags but it seems to be missing. Some people have given this book a bad review because it’s super simple. Just one phrase and one picture on each page. When I made it I imagined it would be swish-through electronic book that you would send your sweetheart over the phone. Good idea but maybe not worth spending money on for the print version. I wish it was a board book. It would be fabulous as a board book that toddlers could chew on. Sadly, my publisher doesn’t make board books.
Secret Agent Josephine in Paris Ah, an oldie but a goodie. This was my first real story book and a labor of love. Sadly it didn’t sell well. I’m super proud of the illustrations though and the story is cute. Writing a spy story is tricky because spies can be well, to put it plainly: very bad people and I didn’t want to write about SAJ poisoning someone or sneaking into government buildings to take pictures of top secret documents. I also didn’t want to write about the blueberry caper stealing pies so I was kinda stuck plot wise and maybe it shows. But I do love that I got to include so many real life references. My brother is the evil art thief. Bug comes with me on a trip to all the touristy spots in Paris… it’s fun. I think it’s cute and definitely worth it for the print version if you collect picture books about Paris like I do.
Colors I like this one. It’s simple but I love the illustrations if do say so myself. I was working with gradients a lot back then. I’ve kinda let gradients and shading go by the wayside in efforts to speed up the illustration process. That’s the thing about me, I’m a quick illustrator. Oftentimes too quick. But when we were making these books, the digital book industry was brand new and we had to act fast to stay at the lead. It was good advice for back then. Now I’d probably go a lot slower and add more detail but at the end of the day did emotion I wanted to convey come across? I think so. Quick can be good too.
Hey, Kitty Kitty! Funny fun fact about this book: the artwork I have says “Here Kitty Kitty.” That was the first version of this book but they changed it to “Hey Kitty Kitty” after it was published. Maybe there was already a book called “Here Kitty Kitty,” I’m not sure. Also, the Kindle version of this book is black because black looks really cool on screen but not so great in print. We decided pink was nice for print. I don’t have many pink books so this one is special to me. I also love this book because some of the spreads are designed vertically and you have to turn the book to read them. Other readers hate this. I think it’s cool. I also like that the color palette is very simple. What can I say? I was a graphic designer before I was an illustrator. Simple lines and colors mean a lot to me. :)
ABC Flashcards Remember the flashcards I made for Bug and all you readers chimed in and we came up with what I should illustrate for each letter together? Wasn’t that amazing? I think that was one of the best things I ever did on this blog. Of course, that was a million years ago and probably not many of those original readers and commenters are still here but oh, the memories! That was something else. They hit right at Christmas time and it was before the big crash of 2008 when we all lost all our money. Oh, those were good times. Back when pandemics were things of fiction… Sigh. Anyway, this book is just those cards made into a book. If you want to keep all your alphabet cards in a book, it’s handy! If you want to swipe through the alphabet on a tablet and not play 26-card pick-up, it’s handy! If your toddler likes to eat alphabet cards…well, you know where I’m going with this.
I’m going to stop there because this is the mother of all posts and I’ll come back tomorrow with another grouping of books. To those of you who are just here for the tea and gossip, I’m sorry. We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled posting in about two years.
Just kidding! I’ll be back.
In the meantime, be a pal and leave me a review. I’ll love you forever. (I already do!)