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New & Noteworthy News!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to "Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef!"

My first "Over" book, about sea creatures in a coral reef, made its debut 16 years ago this month, and is still going strong--mainly because of Jeanette Canyon's eye popping illustrations in clay art. When I learned that the illustrations would be in clay art, it was difficult to imagine how this book would turn out, since my first three published books were illustrated in watercolor by Robert Noreika. (Thank goodness those books are still still going strong too!) But thanks to Jeanette, "Ocean" has been my best seller and was a springboard for eight more "Over" books about animals living in various habitats. The book has sold 180,000 copies to date.

Over the years I have visited many schools where students have molded their own incredible coral reef clay creations after reading "Over in the Ocean." It is amazing what kids can create when you give them a lump of clay or even play dough. And speaking of Play doh, that is something else to celebrate, making its debut in 1956!

I can still recall the smell of it when we opened the iconic yellow can at the preschool where I was the director for ten years. Of course back then, we also had our own recipe for making play dough, though not quite as distinctive in smell or as long-lasting as Play-Doh. But young children expressed themselves through creative hands-on play, experimenting and imagining. And 60 years later they are still poking, squeezing, pounding, shaping their magical creations.

So while we celebrate 60 years of Play-Doh, I'm also celebrating the birthday of my first "Over" book, so beautifully illustrated using clay. I hope that it will continue to be enjoyed by children, parents and teachers for many more years to come.

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