The Romanesque Saint-Denis Church, Tourtour

Greetings from Tourtours, France! I find myself in a new and inspiring environment as a writer in residence at the Fondation Des Treilles, nestled in the scenic Haut Var region. The Fondation des Treilles, founded by Anne Gruner-Schlumberger (1905-1993), serves as a haven for dialogue between creators and researchers. Here, amidst the serene landscape dotted with 11th-century churches, Cyprus and almond trees, olive vines, lavender bushes, and of course, an abundance of delicious French cheese, I write to share some exciting news!

My latest picture book, “The Noisy Puddle,” is set to arrive on bookshelves on March 15. It invites children to immerse themselves in the world of vernal pools, discovering the enchanting and unusual cast of characters within these pop-sup ecosystems. Even when they remain unseen, the vernal pools hold their magic, and I hope to instill in children a sense of stewardship towards these habitats, inspiring them to protect and cherish them for generations to come.

The timing of the book’s release couldn’t be more perfect, coinciding with early Spring’s melting snows and the chorus of wood frogs echoing through the forests. I am thrilled to announce my partnership with Lincoln Conservation Trust, Lincoln Public Library, and MA Audubon’s Drumlin Farm to officially launch the book to offer the book. (You can get information about these talks here). Over the next year, I’ll be giving a series of interactive talks at libraries, nature centers, schools, and museums, and developing a free companion guide for families and educators. and sharing information on how to locate the vernal pools nearest to them (a great starting point:  The certified vernal pool locator.).

I am incredibly excited about this book and am thrilled by the positive reception it has received from early reviewers, including a very special Starred Review from Kirkus!

Join me in celebrating the book launch by following along on INSTAGRAM and pre-ordering your copy now. Once you do, drop me a note at to receive your exclusive ‘Noisy Puddle’ bookmark as a token of my appreciation


Here’s what the early reviews are saying about The Noisy Puddle:


Nature offers up marvelous surprises at every turn—even via a humble puddle teeming with life.

Who knew there was so much to see and hear in a puddle?

Two Asian-presenting siblings visit a vernal pool in “the deep, damp forest” through the seasons and are awestruck by the natural wonders they discover. What’s a vernal pool, you ask? As the author’s note explains, it’s a wetland habitat that forms “in shallow dips in the land,” in places with seasonal climates; such areas shelter a variety of plants and animal species throughout the year. In short, over the course of a year, a vernal pool is a busy, noisy circle of life. The children share their finds in lilting verse, and readers will be delighted at these wondrous explorations. Look at some of what the kids find in and around this astonishing place when they return season after season: frogs and toads, ducks, shrimp, salamanders, turtles, butterflies, foxes, deer—and much more! The gorgeous, textured, naturalistic, collagelike artwork bursts with life and realistic colors, and readers will enjoy closely examining the illustrations as animals and plants are enumerated; a chart at the end of the book helps readers identify the wildlife in this beautifully realized story. Grown-ups may wish to help curious readers investigate whether there are vernal pools near where they live.

Nature offers up marvelous surprises at every turn—even via a humble puddle teeming with life.



Publishers Weekly

Sweeney’s rhyming poetry highlights the sights and sounds of a “noisy puddle” in this captivating tribute to underappreciated vernal pools and their role in supporting healthy wetland ecosystems. Framed as a series of nature walks that take place over the course of a year, lines urge “LISTEN./ LISTEN.” and “LOOK! LOOK!” as a pale-skinned, dark-haired child and caregiver accompany wildlife observations rendered in rhyming verse. Spring brings creaturely identification (“Wood frogs quack./ Ducks clown./ Fairy shrimp swim/ upside down”), but the vernal pool disappears with summer’s arrival, replaced by buttonbush and butterflies, then fall rains and autumn leaves, and winter ice until, at last, spring’s robins sing “Cheer-up.” Cut paper and fabric gives Sato’s outdoor scenes a crackling texture that makes pages feel touchable, amplifying the book’s eco-embrace of attentive sensory exploration. Back matter includes a note, a list of wildlife pictured, and resources.



School Library Journal

K-Gr 3 – “Listen. Listen. What do you hear? Peepers peeping. Everywhere!” Sweeney’s concise, lyrical picture book invites readers to join a young girl and boy, both with pale skin and dark brown hair, on a damp forest walk to delight the senses. The children discover a vernal pool: “Look! Look! Look over there…a noisy puddle, cold and clear.” Turtles, ducks, and other familiar forest wildlife wade in the early spring wetland with more inconspicuous creatures, such as water boatmen and phantom midges. Cutaway views give readers a peek into critter activity below the water and earth’s surface, reminiscent of Messner’s “Over and Under” series. The children revisit this life-giving wetland throughout the year, observing its transitory cycle. The seasons flow from early spring’s earthy browns and pops of yellow-greens into the lush, deep green of summer. Fiery reds, golden yellows, and rust browns of fall fade into the white hush and muted neutrals of winter. Sato’s signature mixed-media illustrations enhance the story’s rich sensory experience, meshing an assortment of textures to create layered, three-dimensional illustrations. Crinkled brown paper mimics fallen leaves on the forest floor and thin, rumpled plastic imitates reflections on water. Sweeney and Sato effectively capture the cyclical wetland ecosystem of vernal pools while stimulating the senses. Thoroughly researched back matter expounds on the seasonal phases of these pools. VERDICT A sensory experience promising to tickle the curiosity of young naturalists, whether in-classroom or on the scene.