On the eve of her eighth birthday, a young frog dreams of her future in Shelley Daniels Lekven’s new book, Lily Pond. Ms. Lekven’s remarkable illustrations – all sculpted by her hand in colored clay – are eye-opening works of wonder and imagination that should make this sweet tale a children’s book classic.

– HENRY SELICK, Director

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Looking for a children’s book that will be read more than once?
Want something unique and unforgettable for a special child in your life?

Elaborate illustrations and fabulous frogs...

…fill this charming picture book about a little frog’s daydreams and hopes for her future. The scenes were created from colored modeling clay by Shelley Daniels Lekven, a character sculptor on The Nightmare Before Christmas and Toy Story and sculpting supervisor on James & the Giant Peach.

Watch your child excitedly search the scenes to “identify” themselves and their friends among the frogs, or just enjoy discovering something new in the detailed illustrations each time you open the book.



OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES? One of the careers Lily considers is being “president twice.” The hardback book and ebook available on Amazon are president versions. Prime minister, premier and chancellor ebook versions are available through


Shelley Daniels Lekven

When I was six, my sister, brother, best friend and I started building a clay town on the dining room table with some old balls of modeling clay. My parents, remarkably, let it stay. “Claytown” thrived and grew to become the centerpiece of our childhoods for ten wonderful years.

Shortly before graduating with a psychology degree from UCLA, I wrote a poem I called “Lily Pond.” It followed the vivid imagination of a little frog daydreaming about her future, with all its possibilities and promise of adventure. Lily considers travels to distant lands, saving lives, fame, acclaim and possible careers all from the safety of her cozy bedroom. I decided the poem would be fun to illustrate in clay for a children’s book, so I set my diploma aside and honed my sculpting skills. My career as a 3D freelance artist in San Diego, New York and Los Angeles led to my work as a character sculptor on The Nightmare Before Christmas and Toy Story, and as the sculpting supervisor on James and the Giant Peach.

I worked on LILY POND’s illustrations as time allowed. Creating the book took much longer than my initial estimate of a “couple of years.” From start to finish, with a lot of living in between, LILY POND took thirty-eight years to birth but I never considered quitting. It’s been a labor of love and now I have the joy of introducing her to the world.


Years ago, Shelley Daniels Lekven introduced me to the fantastic world of LILY POND, her picture book featuring amazing and whimsical hand sculpted clay scenes, telling the charming story of a little girl frog’s dreams for the future. This is a book you can gaze at repeatedly and always find something new and wonderful. Shelley Daniels Lekven’s immense sculptural and storytelling talent comes through on every delightful page. The world of LILY POND is immersive and joyous. This is a book for everyone.

– KELLY ASBURY, Director
Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet, Smurfs – The Lost Village

“This book was amazing! I got [the ebook] before a long flight over the Atlantic, knowing well that my three year old would get bored quickly. But even before our bags were packed completely, the two of us were pouring over the imaginative pages on my Kindle screen not caring what else was going on around us. I’m not sure who enjoyed the sculpted world more, me or my son.”


This lovely book for children, and the child in all of us, provides a totally new and wonderful way of imagining life’s possibilities. The messages of empowerment and inclusion flow cheerfully throughout both the story and its delightful illustrations.

– The Rev. Frank Placone-Willey
Minister, Summit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I have read Lily Pond as a read-aloud in my elementary school classroom and have never seen students so excited or engaged by a book. They are enamored with the artwork and love the story.

-Bill F

…a great bedtime story for anyone’s little frog who dreams of great things.

– Brett L.

This book makes me feel… happy!

– Denise T., age 50