Melissa Kline Reviews A Year in the Big Old Garden on StoryWarren


“In ​A Year in the Big Old Garden​ , Witmer gently pulls back the curtain on the mundane, and shows us miracles! He invites readers to open their eyes and delight in the community of creation happening all around and suddenly I find myself looking at the cardinals at the feeder in a completely new way!”

Melissa Kline

I love this review, which also ran on StoryWarren – you can read it here:

Story Warren Review: Josh Bishop on A Year in the Big Old Garden


My love of stories with characters who are animals probably started with Beatrix Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh when I was too young to remember. As I got older I found Brian Jacques’s Redwall series and Watership Down and The Book of the Dun Cow and S.D. Smith’s Green Ember series and others.

Towering above all these books, though, is the Old Mother West Wind series by Thorton W. Burgess. I suppose my ceaseless reading about anthropomorphic animals has been a quest to regain the childhood wonder and delight of traipsing through the Green Forest with Bobby Raccoon, Peter Rabbit, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, and the rest of Burgess’s characters. But I’ve never found quite the same magic — until I read A Year in the Big Old Garden by James D. Witmer.

Read the rest of Josh’s kind review at

It’s Here! The Strange New Dog is available in paperback


I’m excited and also a bit disbelieving that we made it, but my latest book, The Strange New Dog: An Allen Family Mystery, is officially available in paperback from Amazon!

The Strange New Dog is a chapter book for kids age 7-10, featuring a lively family, their collection of pets and— believe it or not— a strange new dog. If you’re shopping for any fans of The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, or the Bunnicula books, they just might enjoy this one.