Otis wants to know about the kids who ride at his stables. Do they sleep in stalls? Do they also get brushed and braided? The older ponies ignore his questions, so Otis heads to the city to see for himself. And he finds answers, but he gets lost, too . . . until some of his favorite friends come to the rescue. Kids will relate to this sweet story about an adorable, inquisitive little pony.
I began in a small yellow house in Torrance, California. I was painfully shy and quiet and drew all the time. I made up stories in my head while I was drawing, and still do.
I’ve learned everything on the job or on my own. My checkered past includes being a dog trainer, vet tech, janitor, technical illustrator, graphic artist, toy, and textile designer. When I got a job in the art department of the Seattle P-I newspaper, I felt I’d won the lottery. I got to do illustrations every week, draw maps (I love making maps), and other newspapery-graphics. I loved working at the paper, and when the 146-year-old Hearst newspaper was closed in 2009, I went down with the ship.
My favorite food is popcorn, my children are animals, and I’m stretchy like Gumby from yoga.
Book Trailers: Don’t Lick the Dog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exoQtUxpHR8 A Cat Like That http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80WcGcwpvaI Snowboy 1,2,3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dli9KQEkohg Pony in the City https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXB8FEW390c Nanny Paws https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBant4KRjAA&feature=youtu.be
Were there any pivotal changes that your story/illustrations underwent throughout the writing/editing process?
The name of the main character changed from “Nickers,” to “Otis.” It was suggested people might think of ‘knickers,’ British underwear. I picked Otis, because horses love oats. All the ponies have horsey names: Whinny, Derby & Mosey are Otis’s friends.
When was your favorite time reading this book aloud? Why?
There’s a photo here of a baby in a red onesie. It was one of the first times I’d read, Pony in the City aloud. This was at Third Place Books in Seward Park. The baby near about slept through all the other readings. Suddenly, as I was reading ‘Pony,’ the baby perked up, started laughing, waving and reaching for the book. He (or was it a she) stayed riveted the entire reading. Since then, many people have told me their very young babies love Otis. So sweet!
What would you say is the primary message of Pony in the City?
Be curious! Stay curious! Ask more questions than you answer. Wonder, ponder. What if… ?