Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


When is an Octopus Not an Octopus?

I’ve written two picture books that feature those delightful cephalopods, LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH (Pelican, 2016) and HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS. So, Gabe Pyle and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda had me at octopus imitating other animals.

“Check out these awesome animal illustrations by Gabe Pyle. There’s a snail, a monkey, a turtle, a sloth – pretty much most animals you can think of. But there are no octopuses. No sir. None at all.

Take a closer look however and you’ll suddenly realize that all is not quite what it seems. Is that flamingo really a flamingo? Is that T-Rex really a T-Rex (humor me here)? Or are they all actually octopuses pretending to be various members of the animal kingdom? No, that’s ridiculous…right? Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy, because that’s exactly what they are! Pyle is an industrial designer and illustrator and he and his wife came up with the awesome idea for a little bit of fun. See for yourself in the pictures below, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite!


Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

Definitely Not An Octopus

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Photos of the Tiny Fae World Around Us

From Magda Wasiczek and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

My picture book, MABEL AND THE QUEEN OF DREAMS, is inspired by Mercutio’s soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio describes how the tiny Fae Queen Mab travels in her flying chariot, painting people’s dreams. The photos in this post show that the Fae Queen could live in our world quite comfortably.

“My name is Magda Wasiczek, I am a flower & nature photographer based in Trzebinia, Poland. Photography to me is a tool of raising the awareness to the beauty of nature. I’ve learned to see invisible things, to enjoy million small details, which I did not pay attention to before.

I do not know who or why, what strength created the world that surrounds us. I know that it is an unusual and fascinating in every smallest detail.

Before I began photographing, I liked to draw, paint. Then I just changed the tool and instead of brushes and pencils I began to use lenses and I have learned to use their optical properties to achieve the desired effects.

I want to show the world of plants or insects in such a way that would impress an average person who has paid no attention to the world at his feet or even hated those “nasty bugs”.

When going to the meadow or the garden, I have no planned shots. I let the nature surprise me. I love the thrill when you find a theme in the open air. It’s like opening presents at Christmas.

I want to present my vision of the world, this idyllic paradise of fairy tales. I hope that looking at my pictures, a child inside of them wakes up, because the world in the eyes of a child is always more colorful, fascinating, mysterious and full of surprises.”

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Interview with THE STORY OF FISH & SNAIL author/illustrator Deborah Freedman

Deborah Freedman was an architect once, but now prefers building worlds in picture books. She is the author and illustrator of THE STORY OF FISH & SNAIL, BLUE CHICKEN, SCRIBBLE, and to-be-published (Viking, April 2015) BY MOUSE & FROG. Deborah lives in a colorful house in southern Connecticut, where she is busy at work on her next books. You can learn more about her at http://www.deborahfreedman.net.


For what age audience do you write?

I write and illustrate picture books, and honestly believe that no one is too old to read picture books!

Henry: So true! A well-written picture book like Where the Wild Things Are or Journey appeals to kids of all ages.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is The Story of Fish & Snail, published by Viking last year. It’s about a Fish and Snail who live in a book together, and how their friendship is tested when Fish encourages Snail to explore another book.

Henry: It’s always a delicate situation when you ask your roommate to move out… 🙂

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

I hope The Story of Fish & Snail will encourage children to jump into new books, or even to write their own — perhaps new adventures for Fish and Snail!

Henry: Well, you’re preaching to the choir. My young sons helped coauthor my books Nimpentoad and Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes (Pelican, 2015).

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

Sometimes, when I’ve been working on a project for a long time, it can stop feeling fresh after a while — which can make it challenging to revise effectively.

Henry: Agreed. I like to work on multiple manuscripts, so when I’m struggling with one, I can switch to another.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

Keep going anyway!

Henry: The power of BIC!

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

Connecting with readers through my books never stops being wonderful, even profoundly moving at times.

Henry: Plus, being hounded by paparazzi never loses its thrill… 🙂

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Oh, I don’t know… I certainly don’t have this writing life all figured out! So how about this: never assume you have it all figured out.

Henry: After multiple traditionally published books, it’s not figured out!? Yikes!

Where can readers find your work?

Hopefully at all the usual places, but I especially encourage readers to shop at independent bookstores, and I try to keep my website updated with a list of stores that have signed copies.

Henry: Go indies!

This article can also be read at Henry’s blog on KidLit, fantasy & science fiction.

This interview is also posted at the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

Click to Tweet: Interview with THE STORY OF FISH & SNAIL author/illustrator @DeborahFreedman at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-GE via @Nimpentoad

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Gorgeous images of animals and nature

Kids love animals and nature, right? So, it’s only reasonable to share some gorgeous animal and nature photos.


Aurora Borealis –  a natural light display in the sky particularly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. That’s fancy science talk for “purdy”.


If birds lived in Mordor, they’d look like this bird in the salty Lake Natron in Tanzania.


In real estate, it’s all about three things: location, location, and location. These formations are in China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.


A very large snail is not intimidated by a fierce but tiny dog.


The dragonfly has a face only a mother could love. Plus, he needs a shave.


Glass Gem corn. It’s a thing! Purdy.


Eeny meeny miny moe, catch a leopard by the toe. Not!


Smoke ring rising above Mt. Etna. Seriously.


Who’s a pretty bird?


Pigs can’t fly, but apparently they can swim.


Tired of the rancher’s relentless teasing, the sheep took matters into their own, er, hands.


The tamandua is a type of anteater. They lick up insects with their elongated snouts and rounded tongues, which can reach up to 16 in. in length. To avoid puncturing their palms with their sharp claws, they walk on the outsides of their “hands.”


Even wet, there is a majesty about tigers.