This book and all the illustrations were written and created by Michael L. Strauss. Michael grew up in Southern California. After high school he joined the Marine Corps and after completing his tour honorably, he went to college where he studied art. He worked in the toy industry for most of his adult life as a Toy Master Model Builder, Designer and Engineer. During this time he had the opportunity to create a multitude of toys for many popular toy brands
In 1983 a small independent toy research and development team offered him an exciting position creating new, innovative toys for many large, well established toy companies. He found that he really enjoyed creating toys for children and quickly became an expert in his field. He applied for a medium level position at a local toy company not too far from his home and quickly worked his way up to managing the model shop and achieved Master Model Maker status.
In 1997, Mattel approached him and offered him a position in their design center. It was a dream job, working with one of the largest toy companies in the world at the time. For over thirty years he enjoyed working in the toy industry, creating and thinking up new and awesome toy concepts for children all over the world. There is nothing more rewarding than talking to parents and finding out that their child’s favorite toy was one that he had worked on, designed or created.
"With all of my toy experience and the pleasure I experienced seeing the faces of children playing with the toys I had helped to create, I really felt I had more to give, I always wanted to write a children’s book. So, I created this whimsical story about a little boy named Timothy Cooper and his imaginary adventures. It reminded me of myself when I was a child growing up and the imagination I had as a small boy."
“I believe that imagination is key to our world’s success and cannot stress the importance of nurturing the imagination in all of us. After all, I based my entire career on going above and beyond my own imagination.”
Now semi-retired, he spends most of his time creating in his studio, utilizing various artistic disciplines and unique concept directions to create art in different media. He loves to paint, draw, and sculpt, as well as photography and writing short stories. “It’s the element of creating that prompts the need to always be working on something.” With the power of imagination, he has truly enjoyed writing this book and creating the artwork that he feels draws readers into the magical world of Timothy Cooper’s Balloon Bay.
He hopes everyone enjoys all the playful scenes he illustrated for this story, and that they help all children to imagine beyond reality and to pretend that they are there with Timmy as they experience this wondrous, magical land, where all of Timmy’s favorite balloon-animal characters come alive.
ml strauss Timothy Cooper's Quest for Balloon Bay Michael Strauss