My first picture book, The Teacher's Pet, goes out into the world today! It's about a teacher who is so enamored of the new class pet, he can't see all the trouble it's causing. I had a lot of fun writing this silly, semi-autobiographical tale...and even more fun seeing how illustrator Zachariah OHora brought the story to life, telling a visual story that surprised (and delighted) even me.
(For those who don't know: Picture book writers and illustrators work separately for most of the process, and writers don't prescribe what should happen in the art. Instead, we try to leave lots of room in the text for illustrators to play, invent, and imagine new facets to the story--and that's where the magic happens.)
In a starred review, Publishers Weekly wrote, "Rissi's very funny text is a model of understatement and restraint...allowing OHora to make the most of the story's physical comedy in thickly painted scenes spiked with neon orange. Mr. Stricter is a classic bumbler cut from Amelia Bedelia's cloth, and readers will hope that his class has more oddball tales in store."
Bookseller Todd Wellman selected The Teacher's Pet as a staff pick at Boswell Book Company, saying, "It's lovely to recommend a truly laugh-out-loud picture book in which the illustrations and text flatter each other so well. Rissi and OHora have devised a story that the reader will gleefully suspend disbelief for. Mr. Stricter has introduced a class pet, but it grows and grows into something unexpected that he loves but the students realize requires a different sort of compassion. All members of a classroom are shown to be contributors to the educational experience as the kids problem-solve and help their educational environment be successful."
If you would like to read The Teacher's Pet, please ask for it at your local bookstore or library, or find it online by following one of these links: Indiebound | B&N | Amazon | BAM | iTunes | Target | Indigo
I will be doing several book festival, library, and bookstore events in the next few months, including in Michigan, Maine, Georgia, New York, and New Jersey. If you're interested in coming to a The Teacher's Pet story time, I would love to see you there! Please visit my events page for more details.