AAAS/Subaru longlist

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis has been selected to the AAAS/Subaru (link) longlist for excellence in science writing in the category of Children's Science Picture Books!


Stinky Spike!

Written by my son, Peter! Bloomsbury will be issuing Stinky Spike The Pirate Dog and Stinky Spike and the Royal Rescue in early 2017. Both books are in the introduction of this new Read & Bloom series from Bloomsbury. 


The Haunted Hamburger in NC

Had a great time in North Carolina receiving the Picture Book Award of the Year (2014) from the N.C. School Library Media Association for The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories. Special thanks to Vicki Stanfield and Lisa England. I enjoyed meeting David LaRochelle, the talented and funny (and as you can see, very tall) author of The Haunted Hamburger. 


Library Media Connection

Here is an excerpt (must be 50 words or less for copyright purposes before Nov 1) of a review of Swamp Chomp by Lola Schaefer from the November/December issue of Library Media Connection. It is a "recommended" book.

Schaefer, Lola M.

Swamp Chomp

Illustrated by Paul Meisel. 2014. 32pp. $16.95 hc. Holiday House. 978-0-8234-2407-8. Grades PreK-2

In brilliant shades of green, this book opens with a double-page spread of open-mouthed swamp animals, each ready to gobble the next creature in the food chain. The bold illustrations provide exquisite detail of swamp life, and simple three-word phrases describe the actions.


New Stories for Newtown

Newtown Illustrator Ross MacDonald and Booth children's librarian Lana Bennison organized this event for the second year following the tragedy in town. Joe McKendry, an educator and author/illustrator from the Boston area, had organized an event in Boston last year after the bombing where illustrator's drew a picture of a child's favorite stuffed animal. He organized a similar event here in Newtown which I participated in. There were a number of other events in town attended by authors and illustrators Alan Katz, Sarah Littman, Gail Carson Levine, Jennifer Thermes, Jarrett Krosoczka, Dan Yaccarino, Karen Romano Young, Nathan Fox, Kristine Humber, Dingding Hu, Katrina Kopeloff, Kelly Murphy, Steve Brodner, and Antoine Revoy.

Kids like scary hamburgers in North Carolina

"The North Carolina Children’s Book Award Committee 
is pleased to announce the 2014 winners! 

In the Picture Book Category, The Haunted Hamburger and other Ghostly Tales, written by David LaRochelle, and illustrated by Paul Meisel, is the winning title with 22,182 votes out of the 95,982 votes cast!"

Texas Library Association

I had a lot of fun in San Antonio at the presentation and panel discussion for "I Can Read It Myself! The Geisel Award Books and Beginning Readers" hosted by Kristen Fournier. Thanks to Terry Borzumato-Greenberg of Holiday House, all the welcoming librarians, and fellow participants Grace Lin and Geoffrey Hayes for making it a very enjoyable experience. 

Booklist Review of Swamp Chomp

Schaefer, Lola M. (Author) , Meisel, Paul (Illustrator)

Apr 2014. 32 p. Holiday, hardcover, $16.95. (9780823424078).

With a short, staccato text and colorful illustrations, this picture book portrays life in a swamp. Each of the opening scenes includes only one short phrase, such as “Fish glide. Guard” and “Turtles bob. Dig.” The pace quickens on the center spread, where the text reads “Hum / Simmer / Bellow / Drone / Splash /Scratch” as a number of animals spring into action above and below the water, some chasing their prey, others trying to elude their predators. This sets the tone for the second half of the book, in which many swamp animals catch and eat smaller critters. The endnote, which briefly comments on swamps and food chains, is memorably illustrated with a line of animals (alligator, turtle, frog, bass, crayfish, dragonfly, mosquito) with gaping jaws, each intent on eating the smaller one beside it. A similar line of animals spirals across the endpapers. Created with ink, watercolor, acrylic, pencil, and pastel, Meisel’s lively illustrations capture swamp life without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing it. A colorful addition to classroom units on swamp ecology, food chains, and predation.

— Carolyn Phelan

Kirkus review for Light Is All Around Us

Inquiring minds in primary grades can gain understanding about a seemingly ever-present subject in this title about light in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series.

light all around.jpg

Pfeffer begins her straightforward text by discussing sources of light from the sun and stars, as well as those powered by electricity. Soon readers are discovering how light travels to Earth from the sun 93 million miles away. The challenging concept of how fast light travels is made clear by Meisel’s appealing spreads comparing the speeds of various vehicles (car, plane, etc.) to light. The notion of measuring a particular light’s brightness in lumens unfolds alongside a series of spot illustrations showing how length, time, temperature and weight are measured. Bioluminescent creatures, such as common fireflies and the more exotic glowing octopus, get a quick mention before an accessible and informative explanation of how the eye works is impressively executed by both author and illustrator. Simple experiments proving how necessary light is to living things and suggested activities about shadows are provided at the title’s conclusion. A note states that this book “meets the Common Core State Standards for Science and Technical Subjects.” Newly independent readers will appreciate how closely the pictures reflect and extend the text, while younger students will gain much from listening to the book read aloud and poring over the details on each page.

An illuminating choice for the science shelf. (notes on experiments) (Informational picture book. 5-8)


School Library Journal (Oct 8)- "Great Beginnings/Books for Emergent Readers


See Me Dig 240x300 Great Beginnings | Books for Emergent ReadersPaul Meisel’s mischievous mutts returns in See Me Dig (all Holiday House, 2013; PreS-Gr 2), an easy reader that utilizes limited vocabulary and very short sentences but takes it to the next level with a more complex plot and surprising twists and turns. Members of this canine crew love to dig, and their frenzied activity earns them the ire of forest animals, leads to the unearthing of a treasure chest (and release of pirate ghosts), and ends with an encounter with a kindred spirit (a construction excavator).

Packed with humor and dynamic detail, the cartoon artwork masterfully supports and expands the text. Simple yet satisfying, this funny romp can be used to discuss story elements (including setting, characters, and major events) and boost the confidence of novice readers.


A nice fellow from Australia, George Aranda, asked me a few questions for his "Sciencebookaday" blog. Here's the link: