Linda Ashman

children's book author, mom, wife, writing instructor, animal lover, gardener, vegetarian . . .


"The boy narrating this expertly rhymed story is reluctant to give up the throne of being an only child. . . Donning his gold crown (reminiscent of Max in Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are ), he watches with growing frustration as the cherubic infant is coddled by his parents and grandparents and takes over his possessions. McPhail's charming illustrations perfectly capture the narrator's mood in his facial expressions and body language. Ashman's verses, lettered in a child-friendly font that varies in size, are perfect for reading aloud. In the crowded field of new-baby books, this one's a keeper." School Library Journal

"An older brother bemoans the fact that everything is different with a baby in the house. McPhail's charming watercolor-and-ink illustrations neatly match both the brother's mood swings and the innocence of the baby's mischievousness. Ashman's use of rhyme and humor extend the age range of the audience in both directions. A good addition to the new-sibling shelf. " Kirkus

"A gentle and humorous book on sibling rivalry and how the older sibling once ruled the castle and now no longer does. . . Ashman's poetry is a joy to read aloud, offering easy cadences as well as rhyme. It pairs effortlessly with McPhail's illustrations which show a modern family but evoke a timeless coziness as well. The tone set in the book is balanced, even when the boy finally has a temper tantrum about all the things his little brother is ruining. Both older and younger siblings will see themselves here." Tasha Saecker, Kids Lit Blog

"Ashman gives the all-too-familiar story about a new baby in the family a humorous slant by having the protagonist speak directly to his new rival. McPhail's colorful paintings capture the very real up-and-down emotions of accepting a sibling. . . [T]he rhymes work well, with the punchy cadence of the verse making this book a solid read-aloud." Booklist
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When I Was King

Illustrations copyright 2008 by David McPhail. HarperCollins.


Since Jackson is an only child, we never had to deal with the new sibling issue. Nor, as the youngest of four children, did I personally experience it (instead, I felt neglected, rejected and ignored, but that's another story!). Still, it wasn't difficult to put myself in the place of the only child forced to accept a tiny, drooling usurper.

I think we all can relate to the sense of frustration, loss and anger that accompanies being "dethroned" and suddenly having to share all that glorious attention--not to mention all your stuff. I had a lot of fun writing about the "stuff" part:

Before you came, this tub was mine.
This soap was mine. This sub was mine.
This train was mine.
This hat was mine.
This boat was mine.
This bat was mine.
This drum. This book.
This bear was mine.
This ball. This brush.
This chair was mine.
This chalk. This truck.
This blanket, too.
The whole wide world was mine--till you.

I love David McPhail's work, and was thrilled when he agreed to illustrate this book. I love his warm colors, the realistic emotions of the big brother and baby, and his great tenderness and humor (and, of course, as a dog-nut, those gorgeous pooches!). And I'm grateful to Stephanie Bart-Horvath for her book design efforts. I'm particularly pleased with the form and placement of the text (after many books, you really notice when this is done well!).

Teaching Themes: adjusting to a new sibling, dealing with jealousy and anger, growing up.


Brand New
"A go-to source of calm and comfort." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In Print
"Altogether delightful." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Excellent advice in a sweet and easy-to-swallow package." KIRKUS
"A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Ashman's concept is both sophisticated and delightful." KIRKUS
"Beautifully crafted and satisfying." Starred Review, BOOKLIST
"Kids will love the colorful paintings while parents will appreciate that it's chock full of facts about the Centennial State." VAIL DAILY
A "lovely reverie on the joys of being alive and being loved." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"As pithy and clever as Ogden Nash at his best." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A splendid bedtime fantasy." KIRKUS
Other Titles
"Ashman's poetic portraits are packed with lots of tasty assonance and alliteration." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Quirky, sarcastic, and rather educational, too." BOOKLIST
"A 10 on the "aw"-inspiring scale." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A family outing gone hilariously awry." BOOKLIST
"A rip-roaring, exciting excursion." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
An "enchanting ride." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"The clever, rhyming text bounces along with perfect cadence." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A riotous adventure." HORN BOOK MAGAZINE
"Vibrant, playful text . . . excellent for storytimes." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A hilarious look at the world through the sharp eyes and nose of a dog." SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
"This one's a keeper." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Youngsters will find nothing but comfort in these pages." KIRKUS
"Ashman captures the non-stop action in rollicking rhyme." KIRKUS
A "captivating collaboration." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A lighthearted look at bad behavior." KIRKUS
Wagmore is "a charming, gentle hero." KIRKUS REVIEWS