Picture Books


Rappy School
Rappy the Raptor series (HarperCollins, 2015-?)

My editors asked me if I might be interested in trying something for a younger audience. I thought it would be fun to write a book that rhymed, because I grew up on Dr. Seuss. Rhyming made me think of rapping–a main character who raps all the time! I thought it would be cool if that character was an animal, and then it hit me–a raptor! A rapping raptor! I’d name him Rappy! And Rappy the Raptor was born. Great illustrations by Tim Bowers.

Casey Back at Bat (HarperCollins, 2007)
This is a picture book that I wrote more than ten years earlier and was rejected by about twenty publishers, including HarperCollins. It’s a parody of “Casey at the Bat” and it’s about Casey’s NEXT at bat. I thought it would be cool to have Casey hit the ball so hard that it traveled all the way around the world and return to Earth, only to be caught. (“But there’s still no joy in Mudville. Hard luck Casey has flied out.”) The art by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher is incredible. Some of the verses were written with the help of my stepfather Harold Berlin, who sadly passed away before the book was published. It is dedicated in his memory.
Babe Ruth and the Ice Cream Mess (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
While researching “Babe & Me,” I came across an anecdote about seven-year-old Babe Ruth stealing a dollar from his dad and using it to buy ice cream for all the kids on his street. I thought it summed up Ruth’s personality–always generous and sometimes thoughtless. This is a picture book for beginning readers, with nice illustrations by Elaine Garvin.
Jackie Robinson and the Big Game (Aladdin, 2006)
(A beginning reader like “Babe Ruth and the Ice Cream Mess”) Just about everything written about Jackie Robinson focuses on race. I thought it would be interesting to focus on sibling rivalry with Jackie’­s older brother Mack, who was also a great athlete and won a silver medal in the 1936 Olympics.
The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way (2011)
I have only made a couple of picture books. But then I heard the story of “Wrong Way” Riegels and I thought it would make a great football story for little kids.
Katy’s Gift (Running Press, 1998)
My first picture book, for younger readers. It’s a story about two Amish children. It was originally written by illustrator Keith Bowen. The publisher called me and asked me to do some work on it.

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