Growing up in rural western New York, I had two strong interests: reading, and learning about nature. I was one of those "bookworm" kids, not good at sports. I loved to explore outdoors, roaming woods and fields, investigating ponds. I never dreamed that a person could have a career that called for lots of reading, and learning about wild animals. And if you asked me — in elementary school, or high school, or even after college — if I would ever write a book, my answer would have been a loud, clear "No!" Life is full of surprises. In 2003, my one hundredth children's book was published. I'm thrilled, and also proud because each of those books took a lot of hard work. My books have been praised for their high quality — by reviewers, teachers, librarians, scientists, and by the children and young adults who read them. On the average day, however, I'm just a guy who often struggles to write a good first sentence. For me, writing is hard work, and I have plenty of interests that lure me away from it. I have a wonderful wife, five children, and a home (or, as Zorba the Greek called this situation, "the full catastrophe!"). I still love being outdoors, whether working in flower and vegetable gardens, splitting firewood, taking nature photographs, creating ponds for frogs and other aquatic creatures, or fishing at the ocean's edge.