I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but I left at the age of five for a new life in the United States. My family lived first in Columbia, South Carolina, then Hazard, Kentucky, and finally Knoxville, Tennessee before making another move. This time we landed in Canada where I still live today
When I was young my dad used to tell my brother and me stories in order to keep us from complaining during long walks in the mountains. Some of the stories were true, others were not-and as for the rest of them, we still don't know whether to believe them or not. With a father who loved telling stories and a mother who oversaw school libraries, I grew up loving words and the power of storytelling. At some point I began writing and illustrating my own stories. The early ones featured a pig family who had a series of misadventures. The only words in the books were "Hallo", "HALP!", and "Bye bye"–probably because they were the only words I knew how to spell–sort of. Luckily I've learned how to spell some other words since then!
I studied drawing and printmaking at the Alberta College of Art and Design before embarking on a career as an illustrator. My illustrations have appeared in many magazines and ad campaigns including Time, The New York Times, Guitar Player, and The Boston Globe.
Somewhere along the way I realized that I was beginning to lose sight of what got me excited about illustration to begin with: telling stories. So, almost three decades after my first effort and armed with my new and improved vocabulary, I started writing books for children again. My first picture book, Grumpy Bird, will be published by Scholastic Press in April 2007. My second book is called Me Hungry! and will be published by Candlewick Press in spring of 2008.
When not writing or drawing, I like to spend time with my wife, Heather, and our young daughter, Hermione. Hermione like in Harry Potter. And yes, she is magical. I dabble in music. I love going for walks in the rain. And I love Indian cooking. Yum! I'm still waiting for the authorities to knock on my door and take away my skateboard and sketchbooks and to tell me to behave like a grown-up.