Q: It’s clear that creating pictures gives you great joy. Are there other hobbies or interests that give you a similar sort of happiness?
A: Not in the same way, though I do enjoy gardening. I have more recently been taking photographs of interesting textures I come upon in my daily life and immediate surroundings: a patch of grass, a section of cement sidewalk. About the question of hobbies, I have often said: My work is my hobby and my hobby is my work. because even when I am not working in my studio, I may be thinking about a book or an idea that is connected to what I am working on.
Q: Can you share some of your favorite memories of meeting children and adults who admire your work?
A:I have met many wonderful people over the years, children and teachers, parents. People come with so many meaningful stories about my books in their classroom and kind words about their own childhood memories of being read to. It is very gratifying to meet people who enjoy your work. I have also been on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of fan mail over the years. And have been sent many gems, letters and drawings from children around the world. One of my favorite letters was from a reader who told me, I believe he was writing from Texas, that he wanted to come and visit me but he wasn't allowed to cross the street!
Q: Many characters in your books are animals – how did you develop such a love of the natural world?
A: I have always loved animals and insects and been fascinated by them. My father was an animal lover and took me on walks in the woods, introducing me to the creatures who lived underneath the bark and so forth. And I think my approach to how I draw animals is a combination of realistic and imaginary. While I have photography books in my studio that I refer to and while I aim for a certain amount of accuracy when it comes to my pictures of animals, the creatures in my books are also growing out of my imagination.