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Fun Facts

Story County Map

• Story County is a real place! It’s right in the middle of Iowa farm country, and it’s where author/illustrator Derek Anderson grew up.


License Plate

• Story County is a very cool place to live! Any place where everyone drives around with the word “story” on their license plates has to be cool.


Derek in Kindergarten

• This is what Derek looked like as a boy growing up in the real Story County. Derek was born in Story County, learned to draw in Story County and graduated from both high school and college in Story County. It's probably not a big surprise that Derek ended up writing and illustrating stories.



• The real Story County is shaped like a square. Everything in the book Story County: Here We Come! is made out of shapes. Derek likes shapes, especially funny-looking ones. Derek's pig character is made of very funny shapes.


Derek's grandfather

• Derek didn’t grow up on a farm, but he always loved spending time on them. Derek’s grandfather was a farmer in Iowa. That's Derek and his grandfather.


Grandpa's Farm

• This is a very old picture of Derek's grandfather's farm. That's the back of the barn and silo at the bottom of the picture. And that little white house in the upper left is where Derek's grandfather and his family lived (including Derek's mother).


Miss Cow's Shoes

• Derek’s grandfather raised dairy cows (although they didn't wear high-heeled shoes). He also had pigs, chickens, a dog named Brownie and a pony. Derek fell off the pony once. It really hurt. Derek has never gotten on another pony again.



• Derek based the look of the barn in Story County: Here We Come! on his grandfather’s barn. The pigs lived in the bottom of the barn and the hayloft was up in the top part. Derek and his brothers used to love playing hide and seek in the hayloft.


Grandpa's Tractor

• Derek’s grandfather had an old yellow tractor on his farm. There’s a tractor in Derek’s book, Story County: Here We Come! can you guess what color it is?


Green Paint

• There are other farmers in Derek’s family- his uncle is a farmer too. Though Derek has never been able to grow anything, he does, occasionally, have a green thumb… mostly from the green paint he uses.


Derek's Books

• Story County: Here We Come! has a lot of animals in it. In fact, a lot of Derek’s books are about animals. He has books about ducks, a hamster and dog, and one about a purple gorilla. Derek isn't sure if any purple gorillas live in the real Story County, but he knows there are ducks, hamsters, dogs and at least one bull. The bull escaped from the veterinary lab at Iowa State University when Derek was a kid and ran around his neighborhood for more than an hour! That could only happen in Story County!


Leslie and Marijka

• A lot of people worked very hard to bring Story County: Here We Come! into the world- from editing and design to marketing, publicity and sales, there's an entire team working behind the scenes. There are just too many names to mention, but we want to show you two of the superstars at Scholastic that worked very closely with Derek to help him develop Story County.

Leslie Budnick (pictured on the right) is the amazing editor, mentor, and guiding light that helped Derek shape the story and pushed him to make Farmer, Dog, Pig, Chicken and Miss Cow the farmiest they could possibly be. Marijka Kostiw, art director extraordinaire (on the left), is one of the sharpest, funniest, most creative individuals any artist could hope to work with. And she has one sassy shoe collection- Miss Cow would surely be jealous! Story County: Here We Come! wouldn't be the book it is without these two fabulous, farmy friends. Plus, they put up with Derek, which is no small feat!

We do need to mention two other very important friends of Story County. This book would not exist without David Saylor and Ken Geist. Endless thanks to both of them.


Chicken in Rocking Chair

• Book titles aren't easy to come up with. Derek, his editor and art director threw around a lot of ideas before they finally settled on the title. Story County: Here We Come! had several working titles before it was published. Two of the more popular ideas were:

Story County: Yoo Hoo We're Here!
One Big Farmy Day: A Story County Book

Derek thinks he picked the best title, although there was one other not-so-popular title that he came up with:

How to Win Farms and Influence People

Derek is sure it will make a great title for a book someday.


Story County Cover

• Derek hopes you have as much fun reading Story County: Here We Come! as he had making it!

Story County