Pictures Words Us
Little House on the Tundra

Little House on the Tundra

Robbi has traveled to the Alaskan tundra every summer since 1976. I’ve been going up since 2000. Alden has been ten times so far, Kato eight, and Augie six. Jasper just made his inaugural visit. For all of those years, we have lived with Robbi’s family and... read more


  1. Congrats on the newly expanded homestead – and newly expanded list of inhabitants (welcome, Jasper!). Could not be happier for you all!

  2. What a great blog! Denny & Tim are my in-laws. I have been impressed with work they have done, but this is amazing. It was a team effort with great teammates. Hope I get to see some of your future memories in Alaska in future blogs. Enjoy.

  3. This is truly amazing. Your Dad told me the story, but the photos make it all real. What an accomplishment – in 16 days!!!

    • One thing is for sure, it could never have happened in 16 days without him!

  4. This is amazing to see their (Uncle Denny’s & cousin Tim’s) “Alaska cabin” project unfold like this! Thanks for documenting and sharing the experience. Now I’m looking forward to hearing the stories.

  5. Only been there once, but, god, I miss that place. The smoked salmon brought tears to my eyes. Oh, yeah, the house ain’t bad either. Got to go back at least once before I croak, that is if you’ll allow it.

  6. Awesome.

  7. This is so beautiful and amazing. I am in awe of the beauty of your corner of the Alaskan Tundra.

  8. Wow! What a project…what an outcome! We “Hotz’s” had a family reunion at the Lake of the Ozarks a few weeks prior to Tim and Denny’s departure. Always knowing the talent of this father-son duo, we had no idea of the scope of this building project. Congratulations to all of you. Memories are forever.
    PS. Your children are absolutely adorable!

  9. WOW! I’m in awe. But what of the logistics—where did all those additional people sleep? And how did they get fed?

    • Bernice: We have many buildings on the family compound. Although each one offers a different degrees of amenities, all have horizontal surfaces (aka “floors”) upon which mattresses (aka “aging wafers of foam” can be placed for comfortable (aka “technically not inhumane”) sleeping. As for food, the tundra nanny (aka “Matthew”) provided an unending stream of delightful (aka “delightful”) edibles.

  10. I am speechless. This is so awesome! Thanks so much for the salmon! It is so wild to see where it came from and how it ended up in my freezer! Congrats on the new space. You guys need to have your own show on HGTV or TLC! The SWANson Behrs on the Tundra maybe? :)

  11. Matthew + Robbi or M + R = Mirror &The Real McCoys should be a movie ! No really I’m not being Coy – it’s sad to say at the age of 34 The Real McCoy’s was one of the 1st Books I’ve read in years :- ) a few months ago i won a trivia at the Library guessing how many of a certain color beads were in a bottle & when the Librarian called me & informed me that I won i rushed there expecting to win Cedar Pointe tickets or Offer to narrate the community Christmas show or at least a date with the Librarian whom i always find a reason to say something smart too like why is always quiet in the Library because you can only hear the truth when speaking & the lies are quiet & then end with so is the day you let me call you & she politely say no :- ) any way they have a variety of prizes like tote bags & rubber duckies & those fun wristbands that remind you to stay focused or some both old wise take & or a Book from a stack they obviously haven’t had time to organize – yet hay its the Library they get time to slack every now & then right :- ) After selecting the novel I realize that McCoys title is close to a friend’s name Makoiya whom I had just attended a Detroit Tiger Baseball game with & have petpieve about strange coincidences yet the pictures on every page & intriguing & rare in books I’ve read so I picked it & then luckily that week at my job Chrysler they placed me in area where I only had t inspect & not actually work on every car so I read that entire book in one day mind you we work 10 hour days & I read on my breaks & lunch so I hypothesise that’s a adequate amount of time to finish a book & it was well worth it – fun & the characters were very well thought out the younger brother reminded me of the shy nerdy side that I try to show when I’ve done something wrong :- ) & the sister who tries to figure out everything like a dective reminds me of how she should’ve inquired for my help because I’m never wrong :- ) & the owl award reminded me of my niece Kamryn wo had a Owl shirt on one time in a picture & then another picture same date the Owl shirt was a different color I thought I was crazy & then o realized it was two different dates & some how our entire family managed to wear the exact same thing & she was the only one that changed :- ) & recently I bought her a arts & craft wooden wind chime that was a Owl & built it & it hangs outside my window & then I planned on giving the Book to my nephew so that my niece dosent get the strange coincidence syndrome & the book was in my car & I couldn’t help it it just seemed like done she should be reading especially during Summer vacation to keep her mind focused & so thank you 2 for being a good example to our planet & I will be purchasing more of your books since the 1st one was free :- ) & I shall recommend it to everyone until you sale more copies then the Bible & right next to my EGOT (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony) & G.O.A.T. = greatest of all time in Rap or Hip Hop – different subject & my Novel Peace Prize & MTV Moon Man & BET Award & MTV popcorn bucket & I get slimed a Nickelodeon Kids award show & MTV wait my MTV is a Empty V now :- ) & my Purple (Pure Plea) pinned on by Donald Trump’s Wife Melania sits the illustrious Eddie award :- )

    Hair ~ Herritage ~ inheritance / Islanders have beautiful hair culture & nice weather & fun times & eat healthy & exercise their hair represents that /Blacks wearing Afros & Hippies & the 70s showed longer hair more times of people being outdoors/ Football Players wear helmets tough hair or heir or herritage/ Kings & Queens wear crowns their hair shows royalty/ Ronald McDonald wears red Hair red means to read or have read in my opinion / important things are red fire hydrants stop signs brake lights ect/ McDonald’s isn’t healthy so Ronald McDonalds hair should be read/ Jay Z has short hair like most rappers tougher speeches reflect lifestyle & therefore his hair Mirrors his impoverished lyrics / however Jay Z is also a reflection of his Mate whom has Hair in different styles depending on the song or movie / like the 50s & 60s ~ it used to be where Elvis might get on TV & be shunned for swinging hips & now violence & gayness is everywhere / ( We are Lucky to Look in my opinion) – & even in the Bible Samson’s hair was his strength – they say the meek shall “inherit” the earth – it’s important for everyone to live nice in my opinion – Tangled the Repunzel cartoon long hair lived in the forest – Jesus perfect until the crown of thorns – The office business style is usually a short boxed in cubicle hair or I wear braids I work in a factory – or hats – I think girls are more softer caring beings & should wear their hair down & set a example & comfort the men – i think even brush waves show a constant effort to always keep things in order in line & precise – gray hair is wisdom – hopefully I get to see the day where I get more gray besides my mustache & chin :- ) Kings & Queens Reign when they drink Rain – Water is Heaven scent cent sense sent


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We are Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson, an illustrator/writer, wife/husband, loafer/taskmaster duo.
This is our story.

At our desks


Pretty much everything we do, we do together, and all of it involves the combination of pictures and words.



We live and work together in the hayloft of an old barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, while occasionally providing meals for our insecure dog and four small children.




We run a small press called Idiots’Books that publishes what we tend to describe as “odd, commercially nonviable picture books for adults.”

Bobbledy Logo

We also run Bobbledy Books, a small press that publishes children’s books and music and encourages kids to get involved in writing, drawing, and making.


We spend a lot of our time traveling the country, sharing what we know with anyone who cares to listen. We give talks, run workshops, and do short-term residencies at conferences, colleges, libraries, companies, and kindergartens. We are also happy to visit your classroom via Skype or iChat.



Along the way, we’ve had some unexpected adventures in trade publishing, including titles with Chronicle Books and LB Kids—as well as two picture books and an illustrated middle grades series with Macmillan Kids.


Looking back, it has been an unexpected journey. In 2006, we quit our jobs, sold our house, gave up our health insurance, and moved across the Chesapeake Bay to make books for a year until we ran out of money. It was a recipe for certain financial ruin.

But somehow, we didn’t run out of money. We just kept making stuff together and somehow, the word kept spreading.


Eleven years later, we’re still going strong. We don’t sleep much, and we get a lot of papercuts, but somehow, improbably, our job is to getting up in the morning and making stuff together.



We wouldn’t have it any other way.

To get to know us better, please check out our blog and our store, or join our mailing list. And let us know if you’re interested in booking us for a talk or other event.

For now, we’re getting back to it.