On midsummer nights, especially on the full moon, I would go out walking with my faithful dog, Rico. I would draw the dark landscapes, at first with a flashlight and sketchbook, the later with a stylus and tablet. What an amazing invention. It was almost as if the stylus and tablet were made for sketching at night.
Rico would sit quietly at my feet while I drew, and was happy to stay alongside me even if I stayed up till sunrise, as I often did. Sometimes he would go to investigate a cat or a muskrat, but he never strayed far.
Moondog is based on the life of Rico, who sadly passed away in 2019. He was discovered sheltering among the palmetto leaves of a swamp in the Deep South, rescued, and brought to Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. Throughout his life I wondered what went through his mind. What sights had he seen as a pup that he could never convey to the humans around him? The real Rico had four sisters, but for the purposes of drama, I have given him only one sister in the book. Everything that happens in the book, happened to Rico: the eclipse, slipping into the tide pool, and seeing a whale for the first time. What can a dog possibly make of the sight of a whale, or seals, and he saw plenty of those throughout his life.
I no longer go roving in the moonlight. It seems somehow wrong without Rico, but I still have all of my sketches and memories, and this book is based on them. It is written and illustrated with love, and I hope that the love seeps out of every page.