Ann Marie Stephens is a first grade teacher and scuba diving enthusiast. She also hosts monthly meetings for educators, dubbed "Cookies and Books," so she has the perfect excuse to promote children's literature while eating snickerdoodles. She lives in Virginia. Scuba Dog is her first picture book.
Jess Golden was born and raised a New Englander, in the lovely little town of Hopkinton, Massachusetts. A childhood filled with coloring books and art lessons eventually led her one state over to the Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA in Illustration. She now lives just outside of Boston with her husband Jordan and her rescue dog, Martha. She has also illustrated Snow Dog, Sand Dog by Linda Joy Singleton, the Lana's World series by Erica Silverman, and The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir and Surishtha Seghal.
Stephens uses the unlikely friendship between a dog and a whale to highlight the idea that "Sometimes friends don't need words." (Especially when they are underwater.) Her hero, an ocean-loving dog with white and golden fur, isn't terribly close to his fellow dogs, who prefer rocking out on land. After meeting a whale, the dog realizes that scuba lessons might let them spend more time together: "Off to the dive shop! Hit the books, and the pool. Pass the tests. Get the gear." Working in mixed media, Golden (The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk) brings a sweet camaraderie to the pages as the dog and whale "spin, whirl, and dive" underwater, before the whale departs. But Stephens's clipped lines don't draw much emotion out of the central relationship, and the story moves forward in fits and starts as the dog works on a craft project for his absent friend (and enlists the musician dogs' help in creating a song for her, too), before eventually getting a happy reunion.-- "Publishers Weekly"