I was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1944. Even as a little child, I was always busy putting books together. Sometimes I would bind them with yarn to hold the pages together. I’ve always loved drawing and painting. I was also a very curious child. My parents tell me that I was always asking lots and lots of questions.
Later, I went on to the University of Illinois, where I studied graphic design. Then I moved to New York City, where I got a job doing artwork for television shows. Eventually I was asked to do the artwork for a children’s show. While doing that show, some of the children asked me if I had ever thought of doing children’s books. My mind immediately recalled how much I enjoyed doing that type of thing when I was a child. So I put an idea for a book together and right away a publisher bought it. That book was called Willy and His Wheel Wagon. Since then, over 170 books that I have written and illustrated have been published. The type of books I write are non-fiction books. This is because I love researching so much. I get to ask lots of questions, just like when I was a kid. I also get to travel and meet lots of interesting people. While doing research for my book Nature’s Green Umbrella: Tropical Rain Forests, I traveled to two islands where there are tropical rain forests, Saba and Dominica. I also had a great time writing and illustrating the book. I get a lot of pleasure from doing the type of work I do.