Book Trailer Premiere: I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt

Happy Monday! Before you read my interview with author Dev Petty, please watch the book trailer for I Don't Want to Be a Frog. Thank you! 

Mr. Schu: Dev, welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for the opportunity to premiere the book trailer for I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, your forthcoming picture book with Mike Boldt. Please tell us about the catchy tune featured in the trailer. 

Dev Petty: My husband Chris whipped it up.  It was one of those "Oh, it's not very good and I didn't spend much time on it..." sort of things. But his first try was perfect.  He's a great musician and, completely unrelated to the fact that we're married, also a huge fan of the book.  One of the best things about writing, is getting to include people in my life in the process. Everyone is so excited and I love to find ways they can express their own talents through this experience. I'd never made a trailer and I really enjoyed it. I think imagining your story as a trailer is a great writing tool too.

Mr. Schu: I love the video you created about receiving the first F&G of  I Don’t Want to Be a Frog. How will you celebrate its book birthday on February 10? 

Dev Petty: Hmmmm, well, I have some blog posts going out and a launch party in March. But on February 10th, when I've smelled and kissed the books enough, I'd love to have family and friends over to thank them for tolerating me and to reflect on how lucky I've been to have two extraordinary careers in one life time and how many amazing people it takes to make great things happen.

Mr. Schu: What three words would you use to describe I Don’t Want to Be a Frog?

Dev Petty: I would say brash, fun and hopeful. At its root, this book is about wanting to be something other than what you are and about coming to terms. We all have things we wish were different about ourselves. But if you're a frog, you simply are a frog and nothing will make you not a frog. I guess that's where the brashness comes in, because I wanted it to be humorous but a little rough and matter-of-fact around the edges. I say fun, because I think the interplay with the text and pictures is fun- it draws you in, it's bright and expressive. And finally, I say hopeful, because I hope kids who have things they wish were different about themselves will a) realize it's ok to gripe and question and explore that feeling and b) start to find the good parts of being who they are.

Illustration Credit: Mike Boldt 

Mr. Schu: If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Dev Petty: Hmmm.  Probably a bear.  I've got a bear obsession and everyone knows it.  Bears have a sort of irreverent, belligerent thing going that I appreciate.  They don't seem to have stresses and hangups or need therapists.  They're just sort of in the moment.  "Look, a cooler...great!  It's hot. I like fish. I have paws." When I'm really stressed I try to think about what a bear would do, but it doesn't always work.

Illustration Credit: Mike Boldt 

Please finish these sentence starters:

Picture books are unique. They are not just really short novels, they are a medium of their own, like comic books or art, music, plays or film- a totally unique way of telling a story. A picture book is a whole composition which plays between the words, the pictures and the pages themselves and how and when they turn. Picture books are also an opportunity. They find kids during a special time when they are open to big ideas and big questions. Before they're worried about losing their retainers or who made their jeans or whatever. Kids are truly, intrinsically, little philosophers and you can throw some big ideas at them about the nature of things and they have an ability to abstract and grasp things, things that get harder to wrap your head around as you get older. Picture book age is a time when they really don't know the answers to a lot of things but they have a lot of questions and that's so exciting. With school and activities and the noise of growing up, every moment of that NOT knowing ebbs away, so the best part about writing for young kids is kind of tapping into that openness. So picture books are an opportunity because kids aren't yet so literal and skeptical, they can read the weirdest, darnedest stuff and say "Yeah...sure..that makes sense."

Illustration Credit: Mike Boldt

I was on the Bay Bridge when it broke in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake! I was on the lower deck before the break and was stuck for quite a while. This was before cell phones- though I tried to extract information from a guy in a Mercedes yammering into a phone the size of my cat. We didn't really know what had happened for a long time. I had to head back into San Francisco which was total chaos and my family and future husband (the song guy) didn't know I was ok until the middle of the night. It's all a good story though and I love meeting other people who were on the bridge.

Mike Boldt’s illustrations...Mike's illustrations? They were perfect for this book. Mike's illustrations added a whole layer of story and nuance to the words I'd written. They're distinctive and and bold. Most importantly, his illustrations are really funny. Mike just did such a great job and I feel really lucky that Random House picked such a talented illustrator who loved the book so much- I think it was lots of fun for him to work on and that enthusiasm really comes through in the work. I love the bag of organic badgers...gets me ever time.

Explore Dev Petty's website
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if I want to be a frog or not. The answer is no. So I guess my book is loosely autobiographical, but I'd like to think I'm more than just a girl who doesn't want to be a least I try to be.

Thank you, Dev!

Look for I Don't Want to be a Frog on February 10, 2015. 


  1. Love everything about this. Those videos! Both! I'll be singing the song all day and not sorry about it at all. ;)

  2. I love this little frog already. Thanks for the head's up!

  3. LOVE frogs!!! This book is right along the lines of my book, Just The Thing To Be. :)

  4. This book looks like a real winner, Dev :) Couldn't agree more about Mike Boldt's illustrations, too! And I'm guessing Christopher is a brother? Hubby? Loved the song :)


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