It’s been a long time in the making but the day has finally arrived. My first book which I both wrote and illustrated is officially released. The book is published by Henry Holt, and so far has received favorable reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. You can pick up a copy on the publishers website or through you local book store or through your favorite online book seller.   I was asked by Henry Holt to be a guest blogger on the Macmillan blog mackids. I talk about what inspired the story, what song was rattling around in my head when I wrote it, and other fun details. You can check it out here. Be sure to check out the animated book trailer. It was animated by my friend and fellow artist Joshua Herbolsheimer. I was truly amazed what he was able to do with images from the book.  Every great character needs a theme song and Monkey Trucks is a doozy!  It was composed by my musical genius brother Paul Slack.  I gave him a copy of the book and asked him to capture the spirit of Monkey Truck and his story musically in 50 seconds. He nailed it.

Here is the sketch that inspired the character and eventually the story. It was doodled in 2001.

There was something about this guy. He was cute, silly, and the front half of his body kind of looked like a truck. DING!- Monkey Truck.

Here is the first character design of Monkey Truck from around 2003.

A created a simple animation with this more mechanical version and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Monkey Truck and the manuscript parked in file cabinet and there they sat until 2007. When I was asked by Christy Ottaviano if I had any manuscripts to submit. I rewrote the story, redesigned the character ( he went back to looking like the original sketch) and sent off the dummy.

Here is a sketch from the dummy.

Monkey Truck sketch

Here is the final art.  On this book there weren’t very many revisions to the sketches.

I’ll be posting more about this silly simian as more news comes up. If you would like to be notified of readings and signing events you can sign up for my newsletter here.