Big Old Garden sequel coming to Kickstarter next week!


Announcing Beside the Pond: A Year in the Big Old Garden

Hello friends, I wanted you to know that on April 14, we will launch Kickstarter pre-orders for the sequel to A Year in the Big Old Garden!

Here’s the official blurb:

Beside the Pond: A Big Old Garden Story is a nature-inspired children’s book in the spirit of Thornton Burgess and Beatrix Potter. Like its predecessor A Year in the Big Old GardenBeside the Pond introduces young readers to a cast of backyard birds and animals, and follows their adventures through the seasons.

Fans of the Big Old Garden will meet new friends as well as some old ones, and experience the world through the perspective of a bullfrog who has a little problem.

Beside the Pond’s thirteen chapters stand alone as individual stories, perfect for bedtime or stolen moments throughout the day. They’re crafted purposely to be read aloud, for the enjoyment of parents and small children alike. Taken together, the stories tell a unified tale about the animals and birds who live around the little moon-shaped pond in the Big Old Garden, so Beside the Pond: A Big Old Garden Story can also be enjoyed as a chapter book for readers ages 7-10.

The Kickstarter launches on April 14,

and I’ll send out some more info, including a brief introductory video, when that happens.

(Here’s the link for the preview page:

I hope you’ll join us!
All the Best.

Laura Peterson Reviews The Strange New Dog on StoryWarren


I’m not sure there’s a better compliment for an author than to receive a good review from a Real Live Librarian. You can read Laura’s at:

“In the great tradition of stories like Bunnicula and the movie Homeward BoundThe Strange New Dog features a lovable collection of dogs, cat, and parrot, and is told from their perspective, rather than that of their human owners.”

Laura Peterson

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