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Gidget is a photo-driven, children’s picture book written and conceived of by Elizabeth Rusch about a vivacious pug who went from death’s door to world-champion surfing dog. Five different photographers contributed to Gidget’s story and provided great material to work from. We were able to develop a dynamic, emotionally-charged story about this little pug. My job was to herd the photographers, weed through about 10,000 photos, and create a cohesive visual narrative, which both backed up the words and made you want to keep reading. I then did a full 48-page mockup of the photo layout, which the designer could then work from.

Role: Photo coach, Photo Editor, Layout Direction, Visual Strategy


Junior Library Guild selection

Pacific Northwest Bestseller

Towner Children's Choice Award

Oregon Spirit Honor



"The book's vibe is energetic and peppy, just like its protagonist" — Kirkus

“Charming…dynamic…exciting. Readers can’t go wrong with the sheer kid-appeal of a surfing pug.” 

— ​School Library Journal


"I really loved Gidget the Surfing Dog because it is based on a true story and about a dog. I loved that all the illustrations were real photographs so I could see what Gidget really looks like and what a surfing dog looks like. I liked that there were also facts in the book. I learned about the different types of waves and how waves are made. I would recommend Gidget the Surfing Dog to kids who like dogs, have their own pet dogs, and who like to learn about real-life stories." — Avery, age 9,


“This is the true story of Gidget, packed with adorable photos. — Morris, reviewer on


“Rusch's writing and the accompanying photographs draw readers into the story of this Pug which includes multiple, suspenseful (even harrowing), life-threatening moments!” — Sunday, review


 “Cute book. Lovely bright photographs. The kids loved that story.”

— GAMS Mommy, Amazon review