An Interview with Author Tammi Sauer

Library school changed my life. Truly. I never imagined I would find myself in a position to interview many of my favorite authors and illustrators. I am grateful and still pinch myself every so often. Honestly. I'm pinching myself right now because Tammi Sauer stopped by Watch. Connect. Read. to chat with me about one of my favorite topics: picture books. Thank you, Tammi! 

Mr. Schu: Your picture books always make me smile and laugh. Your latest picture books, Princess in Training and Oh, Nuts!, show off your royal writing skills and comedic timing.

How would you describe Princess in Training and Oh, Nuts!  to a second-grade class?

Tammi Sauer: Viola Louise Hassenfeffer is not an ordinary princess. She karate chops. Hi-yah! She dives into the moat. Splash! She skateboards up and down the drawbridge. Zip! Zup! Zoom! Viola attends Camp Princess in hopes of polishing her royal skills. Epic fail! Well, until a hungry dragon shows up….

Cutesy, Blinky, and Bob live at the zoo, where they dream of stardom. But does anyone pay attention to chipmunks? Noooo. All the zoo-goers are busy gawking at gorillas and clicking cameras at koalas. Oh, nuts! Something must be done. Something big.

Then I’d show those second graders this: 

Mr. Schu: Your picture books have been illustrated by the best illustrators in the business: Dan Santat, Bob Shea, Joe Berger, Jeff Mack, Mike Reed, Dan Krall, and Scott Magoon. I know the author and illustrator usually have very little contact with each other. Was this true for you?

Tammi Sauer: I have had at least some contact with all of those aforementioned powerhouses, but I’ve actually gotten to hang out with Dan Santat and Scott Magoon. Who wouldn't want to hang out with them?!  

Dan and Tammi are not professional dancers. Please dance responsibly. photo credit: Rita Crayon Huang, Copyright ©2010, SCBWI

 Scott and Tammi are fierce. Really. photo credit: Dana Sullivan, Copyright ©2012, SCBWI

I came oh-so-close to meeting Dan Krall when I was in Los Angeles last summer, but we missed each other by mere hours. Until we can rectify this situation, this is our team picture.

Dan and Tammi, chipmunkified. art credit:  Dan Krall ©2012

I’m still waiting to find out who will illustrate two of my books (the drama! the intrigue!), but I’m happy to announce I have books in the works with Michael Slack and Lynn Munsinger.

Mr. Schu: Thank you for sending me a pet rock. Most people are very perplexed right now. Please explain what I’m talking about…

Tammi Sauer: I love doing school visits. I always give the library media specialist a thank you gift that ties in with one of my books. Last spring, in honor of Me Want Pet!, illustrated by Bob Shea, I decided every one of those libraries needed the perfect pet. Those pets were not woolly mammoths or saber tooth tigers or dodo birds. But they were prehistoric and they required little care. No food or water necessary! Best of all, they were good listeners—especially when someone shared a picture book or two or ten with them.

Mr. Schu: If you visited my library to booktalk picture books that you did not write, what would you recommend to my students?

Tammi Sauer: Ooh! These are five of my favorites:

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

Another Brother by Matthew Cordell

Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau

Mr. Schu: Please complete these sentence starters:

*Reading is a gift.

*Picture books are a way to take readers and listeners on adventures. You can open one book and suddenly you’re sailing off to sea with Jeremy Jacob and a wild band of pirates. You can open another and find yourself hanging out in a cozy cave with bear and his friends on a cold winter’s night. You can open another and you’re standing right alongside Petunia as she tries to convince her parents she needs needs needs a pet skunk.

Picture books are invitations to wild and imaginative experiences as well as to beautiful, heartfelt moments.

They only require two things: a reader and a listener. Together, you have magic.

*Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my signature dance move.

I am giving away a copy of Princess in Training and a copy of Oh, Nuts! 

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 11/27 to 11:59 p.m. on 11/29. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. :)

Borrow Tammi's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops


  1. Ha ha! Loved this zany interview and the pet rocks (or rock pets, are they?!) And you rock as a dancer:) Thanks for a great fun interview, Mr Schu!

  2. Great interview! Mr. Schu, you ask the best questions, and Tammi, you are an excellent pet rock artist.

  3. What a fun and zany interview! Thanks so much for this awesome interview. :)

  4. Fun interview! I've yet to read these two books but am looking forward to it.

  5. Great interview with Tammi! Loved the new dance, too!

  6. Tammi is an amazing writer and fun person. I had the privilege of learning from her a few years ago at a SCBWI conference.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts