It was a bright sunny day. The two brothers stood at the gate knowing that this journey was going to require a sharp mind and a keen eye. The roar of the lion, thunder of stampeding giraffes, and trumpeting calls of the elephants filled the air. The two brothers, filled with excitement burst through the gate, armed only with curiosity and a computer they race through the zoo on their first learning adventure!
Hi, my name is Jonathan Fluck. Karen Toz invited me to write a guest post today about myself and my most recent book, T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Zoo. First a little about myself, I am a husband and a father. Together with my wife we write and illustrate a non-fiction picture book series called T-Bot and Peabody Explore. The first book of the series is T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Zoo. We started writing these stories because my oldest son, 5 at the time, had trouble finding books in a style that he liked. He wanted fact filled books with photographs. My wife, an elementary school teacher and now stay at home Mom, agreed that it is hard to find the type of book he is interested in despite the fact that classrooms are starving for books like this and most boys enjoy reading them. At that moment my mind began reeling, gears were turning, and ideas were bubbling. That night, our boys asked for a bedtime story. As usual, we made one up on the fly, always the same characters, but in a new adventure. After we tucked them into bed and turned off the light in their bedroom the light in my head turned on! Why not take the characters from the bedtime stories and put their adventures on paper. T-Bot and Peabody were born.
I love brainstorming ways to solve problems. I love fixing things. I have a hard time finishing things. The last thing I want to do at this point is tell anyone that I was writing and illustrating a book because I didn’t want to tell them that I didn’t finish it. So I kept it a secret. The next day I began drawing the concept art for the characters and began modeling them. Remember that we needed a book that was filled with facts and photos. In order to meet the “realistic” requirement the models had to be realistic too. After a few months went by I finally finished the models and had outlined the story. It was time to tell my wife about my secret project. Knowing that I don’t typically finish things, she was supportive and insightful but remained grounded in reality. She reviewed the book at every step, provided me feedback, and offered suggestions. In July the final draft was complete, we self-published, and by the end of the month T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Zoo was available everywhere books are sold.
Since then we have been hard at work creating more adventures for our robot brothers. My wife, Karen Fluck, now co-authors the stories with me as well as offering all the insight and support she always has. T-Bot and Peabody’s upcoming adventure, T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Ocean, takes them through the depths of the ocean where they meet some of the most colorful sea life and some of the strangest creatures on earth. Our goal for the series is to introduce and teach children about the world around them. Not just the world they encounter like the farm and the fire station (even though these adventures may be in T-Bot and Peabody’s future) but the awesome worlds outside of their reach like the ocean, the pyramids, and the African savannah. Our hope is to introduce children to the awesome wonders of the world and spark a desire and interest to learn more about these treasures as well as look for ways they can help protect these unique and wonderful places on earth.
If you are curious as to what you can find inside the book. Here are a couple of my favorite pages.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing this. Hope you all have a great day!