I met Shaunda through 12×12 which is a wonderful online picture book community, founded by Julie Hedlund who was my guest last week! Her debut picture book, CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR!, illustrated by Jojo Ensslin is the perfect blend of science and humor. The only thing I don’t like about this book is that I didn’t write it! Shaunda has taken the complex topic of evolution and created a clever book with a timeline, witty characters, and wonderful back matter. Go order it now from your favorite independent bookstore or your library. You will thank me later.
Shaunda has generously offered a ‘your choice’ giveaway of a signed copy of CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR! and a sheet of 4 stickers OR a critique of a picture book manuscript of less than 800 words. Comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
We lived in a rural area in New Hampshire, and I spent much of my time exploring the outdoors. Because numerous old carriage roads dotted the woodlands in the region, I’d often walk on those to get from one place to another and wonder about the people and animals that might have traveled over those dirt roads long before me. Wildlife was plentiful, although amphibians of the local wetlands most often captured my attention, especially tadpoles, turtles, frogs, and fish! When I wasn’t running around outdoors, I either had my nose in a book, crafts at my fingertips, or some kind of batter getting mixed in a bowl.
What inspires you?
Changes in nature and beautiful landscapes fascinate me, whether it be growth of a young and awkward fledging bird into an adult, metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly, or migration of a meandering river channel across a wide open valley. I love the challenge of putting my outdoor experiences and curiosities on paper in a way that readers might understand.
What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
First and foremost, I hope CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR! sparks laughter that is shared by readers who enjoy it. I also hope it will ignite a curiosity for discovering other books about the topic of evolution, changes in nature, or how DNA is being used with wildlife today.
What’s next for you?
I continue to write new stories all the time and remain hopeful that one will capture the interest of a publisher. I also look forward to connecting with readers and other writers in both virtual and in-person visits at schools, libraries, festivals, and conferences.
To connect with Shaunda and learn more about her books: