Author & Illustrator

Wendy Wahman

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 as stretchy as Gumby from yoga.

Book Trailers:
Don't Lick the Dog
A Cat Like That
Snowboy 1,2,3
Pony in the City
Nanny Paws

Most Recent Book
Nanny Paws book

What inspires your stories?

It's usually a character I've drawn or thought up, that pulls me in and won't let go. As I fall more deeply in love with them, the more committed I become to their story.

Twice my dogs were the inspiration. Andy, inspired "Don't Lick the Dog." Andy was afraid of children and puppies. He was a big beautiful standard poodle, and when he saw children, he'd try to hide behind me! I used to be a dog trainer, and I'm very into animal behavior. I thought, maybe I'll write (and draw) a book for kids so Andy will feel safe.

Nanny Paws was inspired by my small standard poodle, LaRoo, and the kids next door. For a while, LaRoo and I would get the kids up and ready for school so their parents could get to work on time. They started calling LaRoo, "Nanny LaRoo." Ah ha!



What world have you created in a book that you'd most like to live in?

This is easy. Pony in the City! I'd love to live on a ranch with happy horses, chickens, cats and dogs. Oh, and some goats. And birds in the trees, the sun in the sky, and lots of friends and peppermints.

What do you do when you're in need of some inspiration?

I try to get outside (if it's not raining), or go walk somewhere new, go to the museum or library. Talk to friends, look through books or the Thesaurus. I get some of my ideas while driving, or lying awake at night when I should be sleeping.

Do you have any favorite memories of childhood reading?

I taught myself how to read. I can't remember how, but I must have sat with my older brother and sister while they were learning to read. The first book I taught myself to read was "Tip." It was about a dog.

picture Books

dogs · family · friendship · twins
Nanny Paws
Pony in the City book
horses · adventure · rescue · friendship · getting lost · home
Pony in the City
vegetables · counting · colors · foxes · cooking · pets
Rabbit Stew
Hanukkah · winter · Christmas · counting · snow · animals
Snowboy 1,2,3
cats · friendship · animals
A Cat Like That
Don't Lick the Dog book
dogs · pets · animals
Don't Lick the Dog


Joe Wahman
Join Our Kids Book Club
Learn More