KITTERY, Maine — New York Times bestselling children's author and illustrator Ryan T. Higgins of Kittery has two new books out this fall, one with a new set of characters, and that means a whole new set of problems.
In "Norman Didn't Do It!: (Yes, He Did),'" Higgins introduces his newest character, Norman, a young porcupine whose best friend is Mildred the tree.
Trouble begins when another tree starts growing near Mildred and paranoia sets in for Norman.
Higgins tapped into his own childhood for this witty story. When he was young, he discovered his best friend Dan had another friend, Luke. Higgins said it changed his perspective about what his friendship with Dan meant. Higgins injected jealousy and misinterpreted perceptions into this wildly funny children's story.
Higgins has also added another book to his series about the lovable but grumpy bear, Bruce, titled "Thanks For Nothing." The book started with a title and grew after his publisher asked him to write a Thanksgiving book and he responded with, "Thanks for nothing."
As in most of Higgins' books, the new stories are intentionally void of humans. Higgins says he tries to keep his worlds as close to perfect as possible.
"While I like individual people, I’m not that big of a fan of people in general," Higgins said with a grin.
Higgins attributes his love of reading and storytelling to his parents. When he was a young child, his mother, an educator, let him buy whatever books he wanted. His father read bedtime stories to Higgins and his brother, swapping the story on the page for one of his own.
"His stories were better than the books," Higgins said. "Altogether that made me want to grow up and draw and write my own stories."