Curious Critters Volume One


Award-winning author and photographer David FitzSimmons has a unique approach to animal portraiture, and he loves sharing it with kids. Instead of seeking rare animals in exotic locations, David photographs common animals—many found in your own backyard—against plain, white backgrounds, producing detailed close-up images that are simply striking. These images are the visual foundation of his “Curious Critters” children’s picture books. Volume one won five national book awards.

FitzSimmons’ unconventional approach allows animals’ colors, textures, shapes, and “personalities” to shine through. “Kids focus on the animals. That’s when the learning begins,” David explains. “They focus on and notice clues about animals’ behaviors, diets, life cycles, and habitats.”


Audiences, thrilled with author David FitzSimmons dramatically reading Curious Critter character voices at book events and school visits, have been calling for recordings of the book’s voices. So, simultaneous with the release of “Curious Critters Volume Two,” Wild Iris Publishing will be releasing audiobooks for “Curious Critters Volume One” and “Curious Critters Volume Two.”

In writing the “Curious Critters” books, David imagined that each critter talked to him during its portrait session and that he was just writing down what was said. Both audiobooks capture the sometimes calm, other times excited, and occasionally irascible personalities David envisioned. Calling upon a stable of diverse and animated voiceover talent, the two audiobooks bring forty-one animals to life.

Delightful sound effects provide fun, natural sounds that contextualize the animals: water swishes when the Eastern spiny softshell turtle climbs onto a log; the sidewinder rattles his tail before and after his disappearing magic act; and a wood block provides the acoustic punch line to the knock, knock joke of the baby Eastern bluebird, ready to emerge from her beautiful blue egg.


The Curious Critter’s web site,, has additional resources, including puzzles, coloring pages, e-cards, teacher aids, and stories about the making of the books.

David hopes that his “Curious Critters” books will inspire children and adults to conserve nature. “To protect our natural world, we first have to care about it. I hope that my animal pictures allow people to see common animals—from frogs and squirrels to caterpillars and katydids—in a whole new and meaningful way. I hope the photography captivates and inspires people.”




David FitzSimmons is an award-winning freelance photographer and writer as well as a university professor. He photographs and writes for various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography, and Shutterbug, newspapers, and online publications, and his 100+ calendar credits include numerous titles by BrownTrout and Barnes & Noble.

David’s children’s book, Curious Critters, “Curious Critters” received five national book awards, including the 2012 IBPA Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Children's/Young Adult).

One of eight Sigma Pro photographers in North America, David presents seminars and workshops to a wide variety of audiences, from public school groups and college classes to nature centers and civic organizations. His works have been exhibited at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the National Center for Nature Photography, and the Telluride Photo Festival, among other venues.

A former high school English teacher, David has been in education for twenty years. He is a professor at Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio. David holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio State University, with a specialty in narrative theory—investigating the components of storytelling—something that influences his photography and writing.


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