The reviews are coming in and I am thanking my lucky stars! On the heels of our first starred review from Kirkus, THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD, by Allan Wolf and me has earned a second star, this time from Booklist…

“A complete package: a collection of clever, whimsical poems and striking, full-page illustrations. Visually compelling, this will capture and hold the attention of young stargazers.”

The book was art-directed by the wonderful Lisa Rudden at Candlewick Press, who set me loose in the universe to draw and paint myself in and out of a black hole or two. (It was much more fun than it sounds!) And all-the-while, Allan’s poems made me laugh out loud.

If you’d like a sneak peek at some of the art, visit the book section on my site. And last, I spent most of my holiday break working on the book trailer which we’ll be launching soon. Let the countdown begin! (Wow…the puns in this post are astronomical!)

THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD blasts off on March 5th, but if you’d like to pre-order a copy for yourself or a future astronaut you know, click here.

★ A Kirkus Starred Review for UNIVERSE!

I’m over the moon! Yes, it’s still about three months until THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD blasts off into bookstores, but author Allan Wolf and I got some great news this week—Kirkus gave it a starred review! You can read the full piece here, but this quote sums it up:

“A giddy ride through our stellar neighborhood and beyond.”

This book is a boisterous collection of hilarious yet factual poems by Allan, complete with notes, a glossary, and resources for further study in the back—perfect for any future astronauts you may know. THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD releases on March 5, 2019, but if you’d like to pre-order a copy, click here.

All 56 pages were a pleasure to illustrate, and I thank my lucky stars that the people at Candlewick sent it my way. Art Director Lisa Rudden and Editor Katie Cunningham did a stellar job. But before I scare you away with further space analogies, I thought I’d share a bit about my process creating the cover art.

This may be my favorite jacket that I’ve illustrated so far, perhaps because it required so much of both my design and illustration backgrounds. When discussing possible cover options, Lisa and I immediately realized how the length of the title might create problems. There was really no way to design a successful jacket without making the title the main component. So I started with a bunch of thumbnail sketches, to see how I could logically break up the title, combining lettering with illustrated elements that doubled as letterforms. Here are a few behind the scenes shots…

And here is the final jacket art, front and back…

And it’s always a pleasure to get the chance to create a separate image for the case cover under the jacket. Drumroll, please…

I think a lot of illustrators and artists would agree that it’s not often that the vision you have in your head becomes a reality on paper. This might be the first time that from beginning to end, a book turned out as I’d hoped. For a little more on my process for THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD, click here. And for a few sneak peeks at some interior art, click here.

Thanks for reading! For more news and other stuff, watch this space! 🚀