By his own admission, David Elliott was “very peripatetic” in his youth, but after living in the Philippines, Palau, Israel, Mexico, Libya, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, the children’s book author finally settled in the countryside. “Neither my wife nor I had lived in the country before,” he explains. “And the many required adjustments perplexed and sometimes dismayed us (they still do!).” For the talented writer and professor however, inspiration has come along with the challenges of rural living.
“Six months or so after we had begun to settle into our 180-year-old house, I found myself waking up, night after night, at just past 4:00 AM. It took a few nights, but I discovered the culprit—my neighbor’s rooster,” the author says. “At first I wanted to strangle that bird, but on the sixth or seventh night, I began to appreciate him. He’s simply following his nature, I thought. There was a great comfort in that.” And it’s thanks to that bird that readers can enjoy David Elliott’s work And Here’s to You!, an exuberant ode to joy illustrated by Randy Cecil. “One night, in that hypnogogic state between sleep and consciousness, I woke up with these worlds floating through my head: ‘Here’s to the birds! The Feather People! Birds! Here’s to the whooo ones. The cock-a-doodle-doo ones.’ I knew I was onto something then.”
David Elliott is the author of many other children’s books, including What the Grizzly Knows, Finn Throws a Fit, and the animal poetry series including On the Farm, In the Wild, In the Sea, and On the Wing. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and son and their bearded collie, Psyche.