It’s weird to talk about your own book. Thankfully, I’ve had the privilege of working with the incredible Dev Petty twice before, and so it’s not as strange as it might normally feel to me.
I remember when I read the first MS for I Don’t Want to be a Frog and I instantly knew I wanted to illustrate this book – and that Dev Petty was very funny. I laughed out loud and had piles of ideas pop instantly into my head of what this Frog, and book, could look like. And it was fun. Then I received the MS for I Don’t Want to be BIG, and I laughed again, had piles more ideas pop instantly into my head of how this book could look, and it was fun.
Next Tuesday, September 19th, the THIRD FROG book will be released. I remember just reading the email title for this book, There’s Nothing to Do. I smiled because I knew I’d laugh again, have piles of ideas pop into my head, and that I’d once again have fun doing it. I wasn’t wrong.
Dev is brilliant at writing conversations we’ve already had. This sounds like it shouldn’t be a good thing, that it’d be boring – and it normally is, but Dev is able to do it with success because she doesn’t make it boring. We laugh when we read what these characters say, because we’ve heard it before or we’ve said it ourselves. Dev picks the right conversations to be had.
Then, as that familiar conversation draws us in, she adds unexpected bits that make us miss a step in how we thought the conversation was going. Even when recognize we should know better, there’s a good chance we’ll fall for it every time.
Finally, Dev makes the conversation feel authentic. We get to know the characters quite quickly, and even the surprises feel right. I believe that’s really what makes us laugh, because it’s right for the character and we know it.
Dev is a truly great author and I’ve learned a lot about writing from her in these frog books. I will encourage you to look at some of your favorite books, and evaluate if whether a part of why you enjoy them is that sense of something unexpectedly familiar. For those of you who are writing, try to find your own way of delivering that familiarity in conversations, or things we observe, with a twist that is your own.
Now I’d like to thank those of you who take time to read what we’ve been posting here on the blog, and especially those who take the time to respond below. It’s really appreciated. So, to celebrate the release of this third frog book, I’d like to do a signed give away for THERE’S NOTHING TO DO! I’ll randomly draw from those who comment below on this post and announce it October 13th on my next scheduled post. Deadline for entry will be October 1st.
Until next time!
Bonus note: I LOVE drawing this frog (and this pig).
buy zithromax online
Congratulations on your third frog book! They’re delightful, and I can’t wait to read this one. And thank you for breaking down why they’re delightful!
I hope you enjoy it, Myrna. Thank you for reading this post.
I can understand why you have such a great love for these characters. It shows in your illustrations!
I DO love these characters. Thanks for stopping by, Jane.
Love, love, LOVE these books!
So, so, SO glad to hear this! Thank you, Rosemary!
Looks so fun! Thanks for this post!
Thanks, Lisa. It’s pretty much the fun-est to illustrate books like this.
I love your style and how you bring out the humor of the text so well! Can’t wait (okay, I know I have to) for There’s Nothing to Do!.
Thank you for your kind words, Tanya (and your patience!).
So simple, and easy to remember those conversations. I think I still have them with myself. Thanks. I’ll check out these books.
Your pig looks like a happy pig. Your readers will be happy to follow him!
He’s a very happy pig 99% of the time.
I love this book! It never ceases to amaze me how simple illustrations can be SO expressive. How many times did I hear “there’s nothing to do” from my 4 kids when they were little, and now from my grandkids! Thank you for this awesome book!
Thank you for this awesome comment. I’ve already lost count of how many times my own children have said this.
Hooray for the third Frog book! It looks like another fabulous installment. Congrats to you and Dev! 🙂
The text is funny, but your art is hilarious too! So cute. I’m creating an all dialogue story right now, and it it great to see how a well-illustrated, all-dialogue story is put together. The placement of words is seems challenging but important. Thanks for this post, Mike.
Placement of the words does get tricky, especially when there’s more than one back and forth exchange on the same page. I had to untangle more than a few word balloon tails to make sure they were read in the right order.
I’m so HOPPY about this!
This line almost deserves to be in these books.
I couldn’t think of anything to do so I commented on this post. 😉
I didn’t want to reply, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do 😉
But I don’t wanna leave a comment!
There’s nothing to write about.
But, I really do love your books…and now you’ve given me a completely different idea for a story -thanks!
This would be so much fun if I wanted to comment but since the book isn’t out yet . . . I’m just … waiting … … … but I am looking forward to reading it 🙂
Even if it were wordless, I’d love looking at this woeful frog on his journey. It must be a challenge to create facial expressions for a frog. You succeed brilliantly.
With humorous text and engaging humorous art, how can this not make kids (and adults) laugh. Can’t wait to read it!
I hope you enjoy it when you get the chance. Thank you, Terry.
This looks excellent! Can’t wait to get a look at it!
So fun! Just requested it from the library. You and Dev Petty are an AMAZING duo (maybe even a dynamic one LOL)
Congrats, Mike! I would love to be in the running for an autographed copy of “There’s Nothing to Do!”. We have the other two titles at our library and now that I’ve seen this, it will go in my order cart next week!
Perfect! You’re in the draw!
I loved I Don’t Want to Be a Frog! As a person who adores frogs, this character is the best. I’m so excited to learn about this book and to have the chance to win a treasured signed copy is excellent. Thanks for the writing advice as I’m trying to write my own picture books and it’s hard to do!!
Thanks, Danielle! I appreciate it and glad to hear you’re on your own journey there!
Looks like you all had fun with this one. Thanks for sharing!
I DID have fun with this one. Thanks.
Love that frog! Glad he’s back – and with a topic all children will identify with!
Thank you, Mary.
When my brother and I said we were bored, my mom sent us out to weed the flower beds. But that was seldom a problem for me. I could always read!
I remember weeding many garden and flower beds for my own mother – often when I said that as well!
The words and illustrations on those first two pages totally crack me up! Hilarious.
I tell ya, that Dev is hilarious.
I’ve enjoyed these books! Congrats on the third one!
The frog books are so fun. I can’t wait to read the third book. I love the topic of nothing to do. This is something I har kids say often. Looking forward to reading this with my class.
Thanks, Jen. I hope your class enjoys NOTHING TO DO!
Frog and Pig are jam-packed with incredible personalities… talk about larger than life! Love them both, and so happy to see their journeys continue.
Huge personalities in those guys. Dev writes big characters!
So cute! Congratulations! Thanks for the tip on making the familiar unexpected.
You’re welcome, Tina! Thanks for the encouragement.
This book looks like so much fun- fun to read and fun to look at! Thanks for letting us know about it.
And thank you, Cindy, for letting me know you’re glad I let you know! I hope you enjoy it.
I love these guys! And I hope by now Frog knows he’s got some very patient and encouraging friends!
If he doesn’t by now, he’d likely need a 4th to finally get it 😉
I’m a fan of Frog. Your illustrations add so much to the text. “There’s Nothing to Do” looks like the best one of all. Both children and adult readers will relate to this PB.
Thank you, Manju. I hope you’re right!
There’s nothing to do except wait until this fun book comes out! 🙂
There’s always that I guess! Thanks, Sheri.
You’re books are hilarious and I love the illustrations! I’m looking forward to reading this new one!
Thank you, Stacy. I’m looking forward to you looking forward to reading this one!
This sounds like so much fun to read. Of. Of course the illustrations you’ve shown here made me laugh out loud. Thanks for sharing.
Hahahaha! So funny, Mike— Congratulations on another brilliant book! You two are a fantastic team!!!!!!
Thank you , Jennifer. I love being a part of Team Frog.
There’s nothing more fantastic than another FROG book! Hooray! Loved the post, Mike 🙂
Thank you, Katrina! Glad to hear you’re still on the FROG kick!
I love this concept! Thanks for sharing!
Wow! Mike, I love your illustrations! I can’t wait to read these books. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!
I just added it to my #mustread list! Love the first two frog books by this awesome duo, (you and Dev Petty) so I’m pretty sure I will love this one too.
Congratulations on your continued success at creating beloved books for children!!
Hi Traci! I’ve had a hard time getting a hold of you, but you WON this posts draw for a signed copy of THERE’S NOTHING TO DO! I hope you can reach out in response so we can arrange to get this to you!
Looking forward to this third installment! And I LOVE that Pig and Frog spread. Hysterical!
I agree, Frog and Pig are a pretty great team. Only Dev could have guessed that one!
Yay! Another frog book! Can’t wait to see it. Just these sneak peaks made me LOL. 🙂
Thank you, Jill!
I can’t get enough of these illustrations! Congrats on another winner!
Thank you, Amanda. It’s actually much easier to draw when you love the writing. The ideas come very naturally!
Our family loves everything you do! Our son missed out on your visit to his school last year. He was so disappointed that he didn’t get his book signed, so this would make an awesome surprise for him! ?
Frog cracks me up – both with his words and expressions! Yay on a 3rd book! Hope the series continues!??⭐️
These are great pairings of writing and illustrating. What fun. Satisfying like great wine and cheese.
Thank you, Cassie!
Adore these books!!!!
Mike, I couldn’t agree with you more on Dev’s brilliant use of “familiar dialogue.” A brilliance that gets extra wattage from your illustrations, I might add. Looking forward to getting my hands on There’s Nothing to Do.
Congrats! We can’t wait!!!
Oh, this looks fun! Clever, cute, and very exciting! Congratulations!
I am so excited to read this book. My family, students, and I love the first two books!! Can’t wait!!
I’m so excited about this book. My nephews and I have loved the frog adventures! Congratulations!
My students and I shared many giggles as we read the first two books last Friday! They couldn’t wait to get the books in their own book bins so they could take a closer look at the amazing illustrations and try using different voices for the characters! Watching 2nd graders read your books is such a joy!
Mike you and Dev have created such fun characters. It’s inspiring to see how well your illustrations reflect Dev’s clever dialogue. Congrats on another winner. Can’t wait to read it!
OMG — LOVE thank you for sharing and for both bringing these wonderful characters to life!
This looks amazing! Thanks for giving us a peek inside–these spreads are hilarious. Congrats!
This book is so fun and what you said about Dev re-creating conversations we’ve already had is right on target. The character is so cute both inside and out. After seeing these preview spreads, I’m looking forward to reading more! Thank you!
The first two frog books were great! I’m looking forward to this one.
I’ve loved the frog books since they first hit the bookshelves! Congratulations!!!
That frog and those conversations are so true. I love your illustrations and I’ll have to find a copy pronto. Congratulations on a wonderful series.
It’s amazing how fresh and funny the frog books are. Love the line, “If you have to ask, I can’t explain it to you.” Congratulations!
I feel you may have have described one of my ” There’s nothing to do ” days!
Now I will expand my list of choices!
Look forward to reading it!