Where did you get the idea to write about Froggy?
JL: Froggy Gets Dressed, the first Froggy book, just popped into my head when my sons, Aaron and Sean, asked me to tell them a story. But the picture in my mind, when I told the story, was of my sons all bundled up to play in the snow, and of me and my brother at about the same ages, on a cold winter day in Minnesota. My sons looked like fat little frogs.
What is your favorite memory of a fan who told you how much he/she liked Froggy?
JL: One of the funniest things a Froggy fan ever said to me was, when I said I was over 50 years: "My gosh! Your almost DEAD!" I also love it when kids ask me to name characters after them. All the names in the books are named after real friends of my sons and me. I also love it when kids come up with new ideas for what Froggy's next adventure should be. Some kids even hope that Froggy and Frogilina will get married someday!
Where do you like to write your Froggy stories?
JL: I like to write my Froggy stories out on my back deck on a sunny day, with a laptop and some music on the stereo, my cat and dog lounging nearby.
What were your favorite books when you were a child?
JL: My favorite books, read to me as a child, were Winnie the Pooh and The Wizard of Oz.
Do you like real-live frogs?
JL: I love frogs and listen to them outside my house on warm nights.
Do you have any pets?
JL: I have a cat named Philly and had a dog named Asta. Our new dog is Toto, who looks like the dog in The Wizard of Oz movie.
What's your favorite color and your favorite food?
JL: My favorite color is red, and my favorite food is my wife Maureen's pasta bolognese and anything my son Chef Aaron London cooks. I love pizza, too!
London as a baby in 1947
London at age 4
London at age 5 with older brother
London on left with his brother and Santa
London's sons Sean and Aaron bundled up for snow
"My ideas for stories come from experiences I've had, or from dreams or leap right out of my headfrom my ever-active imagination," explains Jonathan London, who burst on the children's book scene in 1992 with the publication of three picture books including Froggy Gets Dressed. Since then he has published more than 100 books, including the popular Froggy series and the young adult novel, Where's Home?
"There are worlds of possibility within our own imaginations from which we can create stories that can make someone want to cry or laugh, play a saxophone or make a snowman. This act of writing, for me, is a part of my celebration of life, a way to give back a little for all that I have been given. A kind of thanks."
Jonathan London started writing poetry in his late teens. Although he received a Masters Degree in Social Sciences and never formally studied literature or creative writing, he began to consider himself a "writer" about the time he graduated from college. After college he became a dancer in a modern dance company and worked at numerous low-paying jobs as a laborer or counselor.
However, during this twenty-year period, London continued to write. He wrote poems and short stories for adults, earning next to nothing despite being published in many literary magazines. "It wasn't until I had kids of my own that I became a writer for children," he explains. "It all started with telling them stories when they were very young. I wrote down one of these stories, and it became The Owl Who Became the Moon, my first picture book sale (though it was my fourth to appear in print). Now I am finally making a living as a writer. A dream come true!"
Born a "Navy brat" in Brooklyn, New York, Jonathan was raised on Naval stations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Today he lives with his wife, Maureen, and near their two grown sons, Aaron (a top chef) and Sean (an animator), in semi-rural Northern California.
"My hobbies include hiking, kayaking, whale and bird watching, swimming and traveling. I lap swim every day, close to a mile, rain or shine, outdoors.You might say that, like Froggy, I'm an amphibian. I live almost as much in the water as out. But most of all, I like to make kids laugh.
Keep reading, and make up your own Froggy stories!
Flop flop flop!"