In this latest entry in the #1 New
York Times-bestselling series, Skippyjon Jones, the Siamese cat that
thinks he's a Chihuahua dog, stars in a Snow White-esque fairy tale set
in the winter wonderland of his imagination. Includes a bonus CD. Full
A LITTLE ABOUT JUDY
“I was the last child and only daughter born to Edward and Mary
Francis Byron on August 20th, 1951 in the city of Waltham,
Massachusetts. My oldest brother Ted was very good at art and my middle
brother Kevin kept me laughing with his funny stories.
Growing up we didn’t have much money. My mother was very ill, and to
make matters worse, I was extremely shy. All my teachers complained that
“Judith needs to speak up in class, Judith needs to improve in
arithmetic, and Judith needs to finish her work on time.” But no one
complained about my artwork. On paper I drew myself a world where
mothers were healthy and teachers were kind. My life was perfection in
In 1969, Massachusetts College of Art accepted me as a student
despite my poor SAT scores. I graduated in 1973 with a BFA in
illustration and went straight into the greeting card factories which
included a stint at Hallmark. For five years I designed cute cards, sad
cards, funny cards, and wedding cards. I was not having fun; in fact I
never wanted to pick up a paintbrush again.
Then I met my husband, Bob, and for the first time in many years I
could step off the 9 to 5 treadmill and devote all my energy to creating
a portfolio of children’s book art. That was until two little baby
girls were born. Then motherhood became my favorite new job.
Over the years I read hundreds of books to my daughters. Inspired by
the art and words, I was moved once again to finish my portfolio and
take it on the road to New York. That’s when I met Lucia Monfried.
The most important relationship in publishing is that of the
author/illustrator and her editor. I am most lucky to have Lucia. With
her gentle encouragement and wisdom she took me by the hand and helped
me accomplish the impossible. In 1995 I not only illustrated my first
picture book but I wrote it too. Willy and May was published to wonderful reviews and no one ever suspected my fear of semi-colons.
The great thing about my job is that one day I can be writing about history, as I did in Mr. Emerson’s Cook. The next day I’m drawing a wacky old woman for I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. Or I can bring to life a beloved pet cat in my book The Grannyman.
I live in a constant state of 3rd grade bliss – making up stories and
drawing pictures. Isn’t that what we all did as children?
Several years ago the great author Lloyd Alexander stood in my back
yard admiring my daughters’ Viking ship (that’s another story.) Never in
my wildest fantasies did I ever think that my art would inhabit his
world of words. How the Cat Swallowed Thunder proves that dreams really do come true.”