I'm always getting "favorite" questions, no matter how many times I tell students, "No favorite questions! I love everything."
But especially for you, I shall answer some of your favorite questions below...even though I really don't have favorites.
What's your favorite color?
Yellow. It's the happiest color, don't you think?
What's your favorite wild animal?
My favorite wild animal is a cheetah. They can run like the wind.
No, wait, it's the lion.
I mean the zebra. So friendly, giving that oxpecker a ride.
But I really like the leopard. Very regal.
It has to be elephants! They are so kind.
Sea lions are fun.
Hyenas! Who wouldn't love these faces?
No, no! The giraffe.
...truly, I think it's the genet, who once shared a table with me in Africa...I feel a story coming.
I told you I couldn't do it. I can't choose just one!
What's your favorite pet?
I'll do better this time. My favorite domesticated animal is the dog. Sadly, I don't have a dog at the moment. I have three cats. I like them very much too. They call me their "feeder". That is my main job as far as they are concerned.
What is your favorite book of those you've written?
I truly love each of my books. If I didn't love a story, I wouldn't have written it! But, my first book Heart of a Tiger, is most dear to me. I love how Little Four found a mentor in the beautiful Bengal Tiger and how he took action to achieve his dream.
What are your favorite books written by another author?
When I was young, I loved books about animals. I enjoyed Black Gold by Marguerite Henry and Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight. When I was a teen I enjoyed J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and adored the language of Charles Dickens and the unique characters he brought to life. When my children were young, my daughter and I liked reading Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and my son and I laughed at Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. (My son's name is Calvin too.) Now, some of my favorites are by Deborah Wiles. Check out her Each Little Bird That Sings. I also adore the style of Eva Ibbotson.
What did you like to do when you were a kid?
I loved to play all over my grandmother's farm - in the barn, barnyard, under the trees, with the animals. And of course, I loved to read and I loved to imagine.
Who are your heroes?
Jane Goodall is one. She has worked her entire life studying and becoming friends with chimpanzees. She has learned so much about them and has worked tirelessly trying to protect them.