Audrey Vernick on Brainstorming and The Bufflalo’s Bucket List

Last summer when I traveled to Uganda I was quite picky about my traveling companions. They had to be fun, hardy and have a LOT of heart. That’s why Audrey Vernick’s buffalo made the cut.

After all, if he could handle kindergarten, he could handle most anything. Sure enough, I found that this treasure of a picture book, Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? delights kids everywhere.

Now, in Audrey’s latest book, in bookstores June 28th, our favorite buffalo has got the beat. He’s learning to play the drums! YES! And he’s sure to leave his mark, not only on the music world but on the children’s literary world as well. WOOHOO! Check it out!

Of course, this news begs the question “What will he do next?”

Well that’s precisely what I asked my friend, fellow picture book author, and buffalo lover, Audrey Vernick. So I’m bubbling over with pride at presenting Audrey’s thoughts on brainstorming and her hilarious Buffalo Bucket List. Go, Audrey!

Brainstorming for buffalo ideas has everything to do with Daniel Jennewein, the illustrator of IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? and TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY DRUMS. The buffalo I first wrote about was just this idea of a buffalo until Daniel brought him to life. The ideas I envision now are very closely tied to the images he created; there’s no way to separate them.

I cannot resist the impulse to put my buffalo in costumes and give him props, which is why both the Winter and Summer Olympics really call me. I would love to see the buffalo go for gold. The publishing reality of that, of course, is a pretty tiny sales/marketing window, and so I’m sure it won’t happen, but just envision: Speedo/goggle-clad Buffalo in the 400-meter medley, competitive trampoline, fencing, canoe. For the winter sports–bobsled, ski jump, curling, figure skating (pairs).

All I have to do is think it and I can see what Daniel would come up with, and well, that’s a party in my head. When I think about brainstorming in general, as requested by my lovely host, I stumbled upon a surprising reality: I don’t really brainstorm. (How’s that for an engaging guest blog post?) An idea comes to me–via something I say or think–and I weigh it for story potential.

I am at my least creative when actively seeking ideas, a true brainstormer’s worst nightmare. But because my buffalo already exists, he’s an exception. I stink at brainstorming from scratch, but I had one heck of a good time coming up with this bucket list for my buffalo.

And now (drum roll) ….


  1. Make a cameo appearance on Sesame Street
  2. Hang out with this buffalo:
  3. Throw a set of earthenware mugs on a potter’s wheel
  4. Spend a day in the Bronx with select Yankees including but not limited to Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera (odd request: he wants his author with him)
  5. Work as a lifeguard at the beach (assuming giant buffalo-supporting chair can be procured)
  6. Be asked to serve as spokesperson for the American Bison Society
  7. Direct a hilarious character-driven film with heart
  8. Create his own foundation to help assimilate cud-chewing ruminants into the public school system
  9. Water ski
  10. Attend first grade.

Jean, thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked. Buffalo’s Bucket List. That, my friend, is an award winner.

Audrey! I love it. So the Buffalo is a Yankees fan? Who would have guessed? And don’t be surprised if some seamstress fan doesn’t fashion that buffalo Speedo for him in time for London 2012. Thanks so much Audrey for stopping by. We can’t wait until June 28th!

For these and Audrey’s other award-winning books visit her website at

And don’t forget to keep up with Audrey and her drum-playing sidekick at these other blog tour stops:
June 29th with Peter Salomon at
July 6th with Ruth McNally Barshaw at
July 13th with Laurie Thompson at

Now let’s open it up. Do any of you buffalo fans have “to dos” to add to his list? Let Audrey know in the comments section below.

12 Responses to “Audrey Vernick on Brainstorming and The Bufflalo’s Bucket List”

  1. Kimberly Lynn

    Fun post, Jean and Audrey. What about adding these titles to your bucket list:<br /><br />Buffalo Strays from the Herd or Buffalo Follows the Wrong Herd.<br /><br />LOL!

  2. Natalie

    Audrey! Jean! Beloved Buffalo! Love all three of you. šŸ™‚ How about…I dunno…an Italian summer vacation for the buffalo, complete with cud-flavored gelato? <br /><br />P.S. If the buffalo ever does pairs skating, can I be his partner??

  3. Susanne Drazic

    How wonderful, another buffalo book. The first one is so cute!<br /><br />How about the buffalo does a sleepover. The buffalo goes to summer camp.

  4. Jean Reidy

    Ha ha, Susanne. Either would be hilarious, eh? Picture that buffalo stuffing himself into a sleeping bag. Love it.

  5. Wild About Words

    Go, my favorite buffalo. Go! Keep on knockin&#39; &#39;em out of the park, Audrey. Jean, thanks for the fun post!<br /><br />Donna

  6. Anonymous

    They sound delightful books, I&#39;d love to see a Buffalo ice skating!