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Inspiration can definitely come from a bad experience. When a garbage truck parked under our window and started compacting trash in the middle of the night, it woke me up. The only thing I felt inspired to do was to go down to the street and tell the sanitation workers to please park their truck under someone else’s window the next night. But then I saw the garbage truck. It had an old couch in its hopper and was slowly and LOUDLY c...

Two-year-olds love to say, “NO!” so Jim and I created a book to give them the opportunity to say it on every page. Our Burmese cat, Groucho, got into everything and was our inspiration, but his dark coat didn’t show up well in Jim’s photographs, so Jim drew an Abyssinian cat instead. A few years later, we got an Abby, George. I guess you could say we had two inspirations for NO, NO, JO!

Below:  Groucho (left) and George (right)....

When our daughter Leigh tried out to dance in The Nutcracker ballet, she really wanted to be a doll, but her teacher cast her as a tree. She was not happy – until she saw the tree costume. It was amazing, much better than any of the doll costumes. I changed Leigh’s name to Noel and the story of NUTCRACKER NOEL pretty much wrote itself. When the book came out, Leigh said she deserved a bigger allowance because Jim and I had ‘used her...

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