Tedd Arnold Author and Illustrator

Background Information

Tedd's childhood, family, and inspiration for his books!

The Arnold Family, left to right, Tedd, Carol, Walter (age 23) and William (age 19), September, 2004.

Tedd was born in Elmira, New York. He grew up in a family of six with three brothers. His family lived on a farm in Pennsylvania for several years then returned to Elmira when Tedd was ten years old. His father's work then required that they move to Gainesville, Florida. It was here that he took his first art lessons- classes that would benefit him later in life as an illustrator. After graduating from the University of Florida and getting married, he and his wife Carol started their family in Tallahassee where Tedd worked as a textbook illustrator, graphic designer, and in the field of advertising for ten years before publishing his first book. After this, Tedd quit his day job and moved the family back to Elmira to work as a full time author and illustrator. Even though both his kids are grown now, he still lives there today with his wife. Carol has worked as a kindergarten teacher since the two were married. Together they have two sons, Walter and William, and three cats. Their first son, Walter, actually inspired his breakthrough picture book, No Jumping on the Bed. His second son, William, now stars in No More Water in the Tub, a sequel to his first book. His family has been a major source of inspiration for Tedd's books, and his wife provides the perfect classroom to test out his books!

How Tedd Got Started writing Children's Books!

Tedd fell in love with the children's books his wife Carol had in her kindergarten classroom and would read to her students. Each night Tedd would study these children's books from front to back. Then after their children were born, Tedd and Carol enjoyed taking turns reading aloud bedtime stories to their young sons. He tried writing and illustrating his own stories, receiving rejection slips for six years. The first book he had successfully published was titled No Jumping on the Bed. It was inspired by his son Walter, who was jumping on the bed one night when Tedd told him to stop or the floor might cave in! Scholastic reports that, "Tedd's first book, No Jumping on the Bed, became an IRA-CBC Children's Choice book, Green Wilma, a PBS Storytime featured title, and Parts, a Parents Magazine 50 All-time Best Children's Books. He is also a two-time winner of the ALA's Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for Hi! Fly Guy and more recently, I Spy Fly Guy."

Tedd Arnold's Books!

Tedd has written over fifty children's books for children ages 3-8 including a young adult novel entitled, Rat Life. Check out the slideshow below for some of his most famous books.


This book is part of a series of books: Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts.

What's this book about: "First, his hair started falling out. Then skin started peeling from his toes. Now something gray and wet — his brain? — has fallen out of his nose. Is this normal? Or is this boy coming unglued? This hilarious book combines the perfect levels of humor and grossness to leave readers in stitches!" -Scholastic

Hi! Fly Guy

This book is the first one in an 11 part series based around the characters- Buzz and Fly Guy- both created by Tedd.

This book is perfect for grades: K-2

What's this book about: "Some kids have dogs and some kids have cats, but Buzz has a pet fly! In this first book of the hilarious series, Buzz enters his winged buddy in the Amazing Pet Competition. The judges scoff until they see all the extraordinary tricks the little fly can do." -Scholastic

The Twin Princes

This book is full of puns, riddles, and goofy artwork!

Perfect for grades: 1-3

What's this book about: "Why did Old King Chanticleer worry about his two sons? Because they were twins, and he could not decide which prince should inherit his throne. And so he planned a horse race—one that would determine the next king. But this race was an unusual one: The brother whose horse was last to cross the finish line would be the winner. How in the world could they finish this strange race?" - Scholastic

Buzz boy and fly guy!

This book is perfect for grades: K-2

Play the video below to hear more about this book from Tedd himself!

The yuckiest, stinkiest, best valentine ever

This book was written by Brenda Ferber and illustrated by Tedd Arnold!

Perfect for grades: K-3

What's this book about: "To express his true love for Zoey Maloney, Leon has created a Valentine unlike any he has ever given before, a Valentine that speaks of his feelings from the bottom of his heart, a Valentine that... well, quite frankly is horrified by such raw emotion. The Valentine is afraid that Leon will become the laughingstock of the entire school. So, just like the Gingerbread Man in the old folk tales, the Valentine jumps up and runs away! What else can Leon do but chase after it?" - Scholastic

Huggly's Big Mess

This book is part of a series about a green monster known as Huggly. Check out Huggly Takes a Bath, Huggly's Pizza, Huggly Goes to School, Huggly Goes Camping, and many more.

Perfect for grades: PreK-2

What's this book about: "When Huggly makes a pizza, he forgets to clean the mess. He must sneak back into the people's kitchen before everyone wakes up." - Scholastic

Tedd Arnold: The Illustrator

Look for Tedd's signature squiggles in the pictures he draws!

Tedd Arnold not only writes children's books, but he also illustrates his books, as well as other authors' books. When talking about his illustrations he commented, “All my life I've been drawing and painting. Yet in hindsight, I recognize that with all my art activities, written words were never far away. My grade school cartoons had word balloons. College artworks often displayed lengthy titles. In advertising, I wrote the headlines and text for the ads I illustrated...The pictures were the real thing for me, the fun. However, with each new book I write, I learn more about the magic in the words---how a few pieces of the alphabet can create, shape, or change whole story worlds. And stories are what create pictures.” Tedd Arnold has illustrated other authors' books: Axle Annie and the Speed Grump, My Working Mom, Giant Children, and Inside a Zoo in the City.

These are just a few examples of Tedd's illustrations!

Tedd's Hobbies

These are some of Tedd's most favorite things to do in his free time...

  • Drive out of town and sketch (He especially loves to draw old one room schoolhouses.)
  • Collects coins (His favorite are sixpence, and his most treasured coin is a silver English sixpence, made in 1575, with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First.)
  • Reading and collecting books
  • Playing tennis.
This is an example of one of Tedd's sketches. It is a picture of Chubb Hollow School situated in a Mennonite community in New York. It was late summer and he was sketching this scene when he realized the teacher was inside getting the place ready for the opening of school.

Where does Tedd get ideas for his books?

Tedd's ideas come from different places at different times.

Tedd says, "sometimes my ideas come from something one of my children said; perhaps from seeing something outside, for example, watching animals; sometimes from just letting my mind wander. Once I have an idea, I write it down so I won't forget it. Of course, having an idea doesn't mean you have a story. Sometimes an idea immediately makes itself into a story in my head. Other times I put the idea away and forget about it. But my mind doesn't ever completely forget the interesting ideas. My mind keeps quietly playing with them. Then suddenly one day I may fit that idea into a story. Or I might combine two ideas into one story. When I have most of the story worked out in my head, I go to my paper or computer and start writing. Once in a while, I will open my folder of idea notes that I've jotted down and see if those old ideas finally spark a story. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. You never know."

How can I get Tedd to come visit my school?

Tedd Arnold loves visiting elementary schools and reading children his books.

“If anyone were to ask me, ‘What’s the biggest surprise of your career in children’s books?’ I would have to answer, ‘Going back to elementary school!’ I never knew that visiting schools would be part of my job description. But meeting and talking with young readers in classrooms and libraries is something that I love.” -Tedd Arnold

Sources Used For This Page: scholastic.com, teddarnoldbooks.com, google images, publishersweekly.com, and penguin.com

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