The gift of Rob Shepperson

Hi everyone,

I’ve been blessed with the chance to work with a number of wonderful artists over the years such as Dan Burr, Betsy Lewin, Rob Shepperson, Kate Cosgrove, Julie Bayless, and numerous others. Rob Shepperson was my partner on two books: BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS and VACATION, WE’RE GOING TO THE OCEAN.
One reason it’s fun to work with Rob is that his sense of humor comes through in one drawing after another, each time taking my words and adding something more, something for the reader to smile or giggle over.

BUGS even made it onto the stage of a youth concert orchestra performance in Philadelphia when the evening was dedicated to bugs and poems were read from the book during the performance. In addition to his work on books, Rob’s witty art has appeared in major publications for years. I hope very much to work on another project with Rob one of these days.

But there’s still more to Shepperson’s work than his humorous drawings. He’s an artist with great range and from time to time he makes some of his paintings available on his website. He’s currently offering some discounts on selected pieces of his work, which you can find here: I can’t show you his work on my blog but you can click on his site and see for yourself. The holidays are coming up.

My bugs are creeping away

BULLETIN: Congratulations to our friend Mary Nida Smith who just received the following review of her book, HEROES BENEATH THE WAVES. Way to go, Mary Nida. Proud to know you!

Hi everyone,

As I say goodbye to some of my old favorites, here are a couple of poems from BUGS, published by WordSong, 2007, and illustrated with brilliant humor by Rob Shepperson.

My editor for BUGS (as well as PIRATES) was Stephen Roxburgh. Both titles were selected by NCTE as notable books of poetry. Other nice things that happened to BUGS included being chosen for the “Seeing Stories” exhibition at the Westchester Art Center, 2007 and making the New York Public Library’s annual list of “100 Children’s Books for Reading and Sharing,” 2007. In 2014, BUGS was featured (cover on overhead screen, poems read on stage) in the Dayton, Ohio Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Dayton Ballet II concert, under the direction of maestro Patrick Reynolds. They named the concert: BUGS!!

Here’s a picture of the concert hall. It was quite a deal and I was sorry I couldn’t attend. My book was on sale so I could have even signed a few.

Bad Beetles

Beetle hooligans
Under rocks
Wear smelly boots
And dirty socks.

They beat up bugs
And knock them flat,
Cuss and yell
And things like that.

But toads know how
To deal with beetles —
Be they beegs
Or be they leetles –

With one slurp
They gobble them.

(c) by David L. Harrison


Never kiss
The centipede,
Pick him up
Or hug him.

The centipede is
All you’ll do is
Bug him.

In his youth,
The centipede
Never learned
To play,

Never learned to
Or kiss.
Now he’s
That way

So never kiss
The centipede.
I say
Not once
But twice,

The centipede’s
A waste of time.
He simply

(c) by David L. Harrison

bugs in concert

Hi everyone,
I just ran across some pictures in my files sent to me by Patrick Reynolds, conductor of the Dayton, Ohio Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in 2014. I must say they perform in some nice digs!concert-hall The program read:

Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Together with Dayton Ballet II Present BUGS!, the Final Concert in the 2013-2014 Family Series

On Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 3 p.m. in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Conductor Patrick Reynolds and the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will present the DP&L Foundation Family Series Concert entitled BUGS!. This final Family Concert of the 2013-2014 Season is sponsored (rather fittingly) by Extermital Termite and Pest Control Company, because BUGS! in costume on the Mead Stage dancing to music performed by a highly talented orchestra of accomplished students are a must-see for families, while bugs in your house are not.

The concert will also feature delightful poems from David Harrison’s children’s book, “Bugs: Poems about Creepy Things”. Illustrated by Rob Shepperson, the book will be available for purchase in the Wintergarden before and after the concert.img_0835

How I wish I could have been one of the 1,200 who attended that concert! Maestro Reynolds conducted some of the numbers with a fly swatter. BUGS was on the NCTE awards list for Notable Poetry in 2007.

A round of applause for artists

Hi everyone,
I’ve been blessed to work with many gifted artists over the years. This morning I happened to pull down A THOUSAND COUSINS, illustrated in 1996 by Betsy Lewin. The cover shows a crowd of faces, all cousins no doubt. Each face is different and alive and funny, made so my just the right dot here, crooked line there, raised brow, tongue out — all tricks of the trade and none of which I could pull off.
When Cows Come Home
Above my desk are two paintings, one by Chris Demarest from WHEN COWS COME HOME and one by Dan Burr from PIRATES. PIRATESI always smile at Chris’s picture of a clueless farmer looking the other way while his cows are breaking out of the barn behind his back. Dan’s haunting image of a marooned pirate makes me feel sorry for the guy even though he had done terrible things. Totally different styles to help bring two very different books to life. On my desk are two framed drawings by Rob Shepperson who always brings his special brand of humor to his characters through body language, expression, activities, and general attitude. BUGS is one of my favorites. CCI01252016_00002

Hans Wilhelm’s characters frolic through A MONSTER IS COMING! a story for the very young. 12039493_10208202716125156_1119096076349897225_nRoberta Angaramo’s raccoons invite you into their world in A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY. A Perfect Home for a Family

Currently I’m working with Giles Laroche on our second book. 61wO366ugqL__AA160_Our first, NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, comes out in a few weeks and we’re already deep into another project. I love how Giles goes about his craft through cutting paper, gluing pieces into a picture, and painting the result.

The list goes on but my point is that every artist is special and brings his or her own particular talent to bear on the writer’s work. Words on a manuscript page leap to life in ways that I never see coming. I have rarely been disappointed in my collaborations.

So today I salute all those talented artists who represent the other half of the team. We don’t always meet but the success of our partnership has everything to do with the way our readers see, understand, and enjoy the finished effort. I can’t do what you can, but I’m grateful that you can!


bugs everywhere

Hi everyone,

I’m told that the audience had a fine time at the “bugs!!” concert in Dayton. Conductor Patrick Reynolds was kind enough to send me a sound recording of him reading various poems from the book. He did a great job and the kids in the audience loved him. He was excellent at drawing the audience into the readings. Wish I could have attended but these pictures and the sound track helped me enjoy the event. My thanks again to Pat.


Concert Hall