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1. Ready Set Draw | Kelly Light Draws Louise’s Cat

Ready Set Draw TEMPLATE

Author and illustrator Kelly Light shows Storymakers host Rocco Staino how to draw the fierce and fantastic cat from Louise Loves Art.


Ready! Set! Draw! is the drawing tutorial show for anyone who aspires to draw like their favorite kid lit illustrators. In each episode a bestselling and/or award-winning artist draws a character from their book. Budding artists will enjoy creating their very own versions of familiar and new characters.


Did you, a child, or student draw their own cat using this video? Please share your images with us via Facebook or Twitter!

Watch Kelly Light’s episode of StoryMakers to learn more about her books and to find out the name of the cat!STORYMAKERS Kelly Light
Kelly reads Louise Loves Art on our Read Out Loud series too!
READ OUT LOUD - Kelly Light (Louise Loves Art)



Louise Loves ArtLouise Loves Art Cover – Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece—her pièce de résistance! Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story. Louise Loves Art is a celebration of the brilliant artist who resides in all of us.



Via kellylight.com
Author and illustrator Kelly Light grew up on the New Jersey shore surrounded by giant pink dinosaurs, cotton candy colors, and Skee-Ball sounds. She was schooled on Saturday-morning cartoons and Sunday funny pages. She picked up a pencil, started drawing, and never stopped. Kelly has illustrated Elvis and the Underdogs and Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service by Jenny Lee, and The Quirks series by Erin Soderberg.

Kelly is an International Ambassador of Creativity for The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity! The Center is a non-profit founded by Chuck Jones, the animator, artist and director of so many of the cartoons that we think of when we just think the word “cartoon”. In his lifetime, Chuck enjoyed talking to and encouraging younger artists. The center continues in this spirit to ignite creative thinking through free art classes for kids, creativity workshops, presentations and talks for kids and adults meant to inspire and enlighten. The center also has outreach programs to local schools who have lost their art funding and visits senior citizen centers to provide drawing and creativity exercises for greater mental and emotional health.

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Ready! Set! Draw!
Executive Producer: Julie Gribble |  Producer: Kassia Graham

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Ready! Set! Draw! - Kelly Light: Louise Loves Art

The post Ready Set Draw | Kelly Light Draws Louise’s Cat appeared first on KidLit.TV.

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2. Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat

stanleycover300pxLet me introduce Stanley to you.

He’s a cat.

He’s a generous friend to many.

And he loves to knit.

But what happens when he has to choose between his passion and his pals?

Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie (@emilymackenzie_) is all about the dilemma you face when you have to decide what really matters to you. Stanley is wild about wool, barmy about yarn and just can’t stop the click-clack of his knitting needles. He makes all sorts of lovely jumpers, scarves and more for his friends, but when he runs out of wool just when he needs it most (for a knitting competition) what’s he to do? Will he demand his gifts back, in order to re-use the wool? Will he find a way to follow his dream and yet avoid disappointing his friends?

Emily MacKenzie’s tale of enthusiasm and eccentricity is joyous and upbeat, illustrated with all the energy Stanley puts into his knitting. Funny (knitted elephant trunk tubes, anyone?), vibrant (all the alluring colours you’d find in a wool shop) and feel-good, Stanley’s spirited creativity is infectious and inspiring.


And inspired we were! Taking our lead from Stanley and a hot air balloon he knits we decided to have a go at making our own woolly dirigibles.


Our first balloons were made by gluing lots and lots of strands of different wool onto card (we used PVA glue and card rather than paper so everything held together a little better).



When all the glue was dry we flipped the card over and drew two shapes – a large circle (by drawing around a bowl), and a basket shape – before cutting them out and joining them together with a bit of hot air balloon rope (ie more wool). Finally we drew Stanley so he could fly in our balloons as they floated gently over our kitchen table (suspended from the ceiling with a little bit of thread).


If you don’t feel like drawing your own Stanley, Emily has very kindly created one you can print off and cut out:

Right click to save and the print out!

Right click to save and the print out!

Our next plan was a little more ambitious.We wanted to create a 3-D hot air balloon and so this time we dipped our wool in PVA glue before draping it over a suspended balloon.


Whilst the gluey wool dried (it took a couple of days – though if it’s summer where you are the process might be a whole lot speedier) we made our basket. I cut vertical lines down the side of a plastic pot and the girls then wove wool strands in and out of the tongues of plastic, gradually covering the entire pot.

We attached the basket to the woolly balloon and then popped the balloon….


It didn’t work out quite how I had hoped, but we were still smiling at the result and hopefully Stanley was too!



Whilst making our balloons we listened to:

  • Hot Air Balloon by Vanessa Trien
  • The Knitting Song by Liz Simcock (great lyrics, especially if you are a knitter)
  • Mr. Stanley by John Hiatt (a lovely bit of blues)

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat include:

  • Making pompoms. Stanley the Knitting Cat makes lots of pompoms and if you’ve never made them before with the kids, here’s a good place to start, via Red Ted Art.
  • Yarn Bombing. If street art or brightening up your neighbourhood appeals to you and your kids this activity might be just the ticket. Find inspiration in this Time Magazine gallery, or via Knit the City
  • Scribbling with exhilaration! The endpages of Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat are filled with lots of unruly wool, with wild scribbles across the page. Why not let the kids go crazy and see how quickly they can fill a page with loose pieces of “wool”?

  • If you liked this post you might like another post by me: Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz & Margaret Chamberlain & a whole host of other knitting themed picture books


    If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by popping your email address in the box below:

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    4 Comments on Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat, last added: 1/13/2016
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    3. #804 – The Story of Diva and Flea from Mo Willems & Tony DiTerlizzi

    The Story of Diva and Flea “As Told” by Mo Willems “As Shown” by Tony DiTerlizzi Hyperion Books for Children    10/13/ 2015 978-1-4847-2284-8 80 pages      Ages 6—8 “Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery. For as long as …

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    4. Random Cat Videos IV

    Happy New Year! Those two fine looking cats are Elwood and Jake. Litter mates, trouble makers, and cutie pies. And what better way to celebrate the New Year than with some random cat videos! First, there's Cat + Monkey:   Next, there's Dogs Annoying Cats with Their Friendship: Finally, some solid reasons on why You Should Get a Second Cat:

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    5. #787 – Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood & Claudia Rueda

    $50 Gift Certificate Holiday Giveaway Enter here:   Mudpuppy Holiday Giveaway  . Here Comes Santa Cat Series: Here Comes Cat Written by Deborah Underwood Illustrations by Claudia Rueda Dial Books for Young Readers  10/21/2014 978-0-8037-4100-3 88 pages     Age 3—5 . “HO, HO . . . WHO? CAT! NOT AGAIN. “The holidays are around …

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    Yesterday I went to Westminster for a debate at the House of Commons. The event was to mark the anniversary of Nancy Astor, the first women MP, taking her seat in the Common's 96 years ago.

    The room was packed. The seat next to me was shared by two people, and there was a small standing crowd by the door. It was a diverse crowd, including some very eloquent minors.

    This is the issue:

    Of the 650 seats in the House of Commons 459 are occupied by men and 191 women.
    There are 32 million women in the UK,
    51% of the population. They are a diverse majority.
    But the House of Commons is 71% male.
    Here's the Petition for you to sign if you agree that this is a bad situation and must change sooner rather than later.

    And here are my sketches! Enjoy. And click to see them big.

    The Panel (can't see them all here, they had to run in and out to cast votes and debate elsewhere):
    Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Jess Phillips MP, Angela Crawley MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Smith of Newnham, Callum McCaig MP, Wes Streeting MP, Ben Howlett MP and Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women's Equality Party.

    "There are some awfully, awfully average men in here". Callum McCaig on Whitehall.
    Ellan asked Maria Miller if her boss would introduce a quota for his party.
    No, he won't.

    Baroness Smith of Newnham and Ben Howlett.

    Jess Phillips.

    Caroline Lucas.

    Sophie Walker from the Women's Equality Party.

    Many good questions asked.

    The last question came from a child, to great applause, and was answered by every member of the panel (in the case of Maria Miller with s shrug - the rest gave firm estimates).

    0 Comments on CAT SKETCH REPORT: 50/50 PARLIAMENT DEBATE, WESTMINSTER as of 12/2/2015 1:51:00 PM
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    7. Kitty Café

    Youth service librarians live and breathe the ALA marketing campaign of Libraries Transform. Childhood is the most epically transformative time for human beings. However, none of these thoughts were in my mind when the Nebraska Humane Society agreed to be part of a Cat Café event at our library. Instead, I was focused on how incredibly fun this community partnership would be.

    It wasn’t until during the event, when I went into the room to get some video footage, that I fully comprehended that lives were going to change that day. This realization was triggered by seeing a woman sitting on the floor playing with one of the kittens while inquiring about the adoption process. I became emotional because families were going to be created or enlarged at this event.

    Later, while looking through social media I came across an update to the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook post about the program. Christina Kadlec, the woman whom I had observed earlier, shared that she had adopted two of the kittens from that morning’s Kitty Café event; what she wrote had me in tears. I reached out to Christina and asked her to more fully tell her story, and she graciously agreed.

    Over the past two years I lost both of my best friends: Bearcat who was with me for 17 years, and then 18 year-old Marbles. To say I was heartbroken would be a gross understatement. My cats had been comforting me through almost all of life’s challenges. Coming home to an empty apartment was a very hollow feeling.

    The morning of the Kitty Café, I had been battling with myself as to whether or not I would visit the Humane Society that day. I saw the post for the event on Facebook and I was captivated by the fuzzy dilute tortie in the pictures. I decided I would head out to Gretna, if for no other reason, to play with the kittens and enjoy their antics.

    Upon arriving at the Kitty Café, I hung back and let the kids enjoy the kittens for the most part. However, it so happened that the fuzzy gray tortie and I ended up playing together quite a bit. Her sister, a gray tabby, also made me smile with her outgoing, fearless sense of adventure. I talked to NHS staff at the event about adoptions and arranged to come see “the girls” after the event.

    Needless to say, when I visited them later that day, it was love. We completed the adoption process late that afternoon.

    I’m so happy to come home to my playful, lively kittens! They cannot replace my previous cat friends, but they provide a needed salve for the cracks of my broken heart. Every day we learn a little more about each other and everyday they become more a part of my home. I am so grateful to Nebraska Humane Society & Gretna Public Library for giving me the opportunity to find my girls, Abigail & Zoe.

    Click to view slideshow.

    Photos courtesy of Christina Kadlec

    After reading about the impact that this event has had on the lives of one woman and two kittens, please seriously consider creating your own Cat Café at your library. It’s a magical event that can transform the lives of both people and animals in your community.


    Photo credit: Jennifer Lockwood

    Photo credit: Jennifer Lockwood

    Today’s guest blogger is Rebecca McCorkindale. Rebecca is Gretna Public Library’s Assistant Director/Creative Director, oversees the daily operations of the Children’s Library, and serves as the 2016 Chair of the School, Children’s, and Young People’s section of the Nebraska Library Association. For more information about Rebecca and her work, visit her blog hafuboti.com or email her at hafuboti@gmail.com.

    Please note as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

    If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

    The post Kitty Café appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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    8. Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to School?

    Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to School. Bill Martin Jr., and Michael Sampson. Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. 2013. 13 pages? [Source: Library]

    First sentence: Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, it's time to go to school. What fun, Mother, my teacher is so cool!

    Premise/plot: The Kitty-Cat in this one is a BOY, just so you know. Anyway, this book focuses in on ALL the activities at school throughout the day. And this Kitty-Cat is happy and content all day long. No fuss or frustration.

    My thoughts: Unlike the previous two books, this one isn't so much a struggle or conflict as it is I'M REALLY EXCITED TO BE OLD ENOUGH TO GO TO SCHOOL AND PLAY AND LEARN ALL DAY. The focus really is on the school setting and all the activities one does all throughout the day. The star of this one is very easy-going and agreeable. Always content to just be a part of it all. Quite a change from the previous books in some ways. Though not all ways :) I like all three books actually.

    Text: 4 out of 5
    Illustrations: 5 out of 5
    Total: 9 out of 10

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    9. Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat Are You Waking Up

    Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up. Bill Martin Jr., and Michael Sampson. Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. 2008. 24 pages. [Source: Library]

    First sentence: Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, are you waking up? Not yet, Mother, I'm a sleepy buttercup.

    Premise/plot: Does this kitty cat have a hard time getting up out of bed and getting ready for school? Oh, yes! One of the reasons why this book may just be so easy to relate to for both children and adults.

    My thoughts: Loved it. I think I liked it much more than Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going To Sleep. I enjoyed the rhymes very much. My favorite:

    Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, are you out of bed?
    Not yet, Mother, I'm standing on my head.

    And the illustrations are just so very, very sweet and precious.

    Text: 4 out of 5
    Illustrations: 5 out of 5
    Total: 9 out of 10

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    10. Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed (2015)

    Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed. Leslea Newman. Illustrated by Amy June Bates. 2015. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    Love cats? Love music? Love sweet stories of animal rescue? If you do, then how could you possibly resist picking up a copy of Leslea Newman's Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed. Just spend a few seconds looking at the oh-so-precious cover. Don't you need to read the book now?!

    Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed is a picture book based on a true story. The story is of Moshe Cotel and his cat, Ketzel, whom he found on the street one day. The two lived well together, quite a good pair, all things considered. One day when Moshe's inspiration was lacking, Ketzel, stepped in and composed music instead. Moshe was struggling with a contest entry: the challenge to write a piece less than a minute in length. A good piece of music. Moshe had no difficulty composing longer pieces, but, each attempt always ended up being too long. But Ketzel's stroll down the piano on her four paws was something SPECIAL to Moshe's ears. And the judges thought so too, though, her piece didn't win the contest, it was worthy of honor and attention. And it did go on to be performed for the public and later recorded on CD. And Ketzel did receive a royalty check :)

    I really enjoyed this one. And I loved, loved, loved the illustrations by Amy June Bates.

    Text: 5 out of 5
    Illustrations: 5 out of 5
    Total: 10 out of 10

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    11. 4 Great New Kids Books for Halloween: Witches, Cats, and … Peanut Butter

    These halloween books, or, perhaps, more aptly labeled as books perfect for Halloween, do an excellent job of evoking the Halloween spirit ... Read the rest of this post

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    12. The Story of Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi | Giveaway

    Enter to win a BONJOUR, AMI prize pack that includes The Story of Diva and Flea, written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi (Disney Publishing, 2015). Giveaway begins September 11, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 10, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    13. Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going To Sleep?

    Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going To Sleep? Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson. Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. 2011. Two Lions. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    "Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, the day is almost done."
    "Not yet, Mother, I still can see the sun."

    And so the book begins. The oh-so-familiar sometimes-tense "struggle" to put a child--in this case a kitten--to bed. The mom (a cat, of course) gently reminds the kitty cat that it is almost bedtime, that it is time to take a bath, etc. The Kitty Cat isn't eager by any stretch of the imagination, but isn't defiant either. There are hundreds if not thousands of bedtime books out there--picture books about the nightly routine of getting ready for bed, of getting sleepy, etc. This one happens to star two cats. So if you like cats, or, if you love, love, love cats and happen to need a bedtime book, this one satisfies.

    I like the rhymes for the most part. And I like the repetitiveness of it.

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    14. An interview with Ed Vere

    Max at Night jacket250pxEd Vere has been an illustrator to watch from the start.

  • He won his first award with his very first book.
  • He’s been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
  • The award for largest single print run for a picture book in the UK goes to his wonderful Mr Big (one of the first books to be reviewed on Playing by the book!)

  • Ed’s most recently created character is one sure to win hearts: Max is a fearless, adventurous kitten, a kitten who will melt your hearts. We first met Max last year and now he’s back, ready to see what the night holds for him as he tries very hard to fall asleep.

    Once again packed with charm and laugh-out-loud moments, Max at Night reveals what the curious kitten gets up to when his bedtime routine doesn’t go quite to plan. To celebrate the book’s publication I’m delighted to bring you an interview with Ed Vere. I should have asked him about when his bedtime routine fails, but instead we ending up talking about Belloc and tractors, travelling and epic quests…

    Playing by the book: What’s the first book you were aware of? A book you loved? A book you hated? A book that baffled you?

    Ed Vere: I think probably Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary tales. I remember my father’s tone of voice as he read them aloud to me and my brother. He read them with great relish and theatricality. Belloc, has a particular teasing quality to his writing, which my father was very good at capturing. He also liked making use of the pregnant pause… ramping up the anticipation. I still love reading these tales, they make me laugh, and they remind me of a particular side of my father.

    For anyone who doesn’t know it, I would suggest searching out ‘Jim – Who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion.’

    An illustration of the dangerous lion in Belloc's Cautionary Tales

    An illustration of the dangerous lion in Belloc’s Cautionary Tales

    Playing by the book: If Ed the kid could see Ed the grown up, what would he make of where he is at now and what he is doing?

    Ed Vere: I wanted to be an artist from an early age, either that or a farmer… so I think the younger me (I’m thinking of me at about 7 years old) would be very happy that I make my living by drawing pictures and telling stories. The young me would also be highly impressed by all the pens and paints I’ve accumulated over the years. He might also think that I ought to be living on a farm, tending the cows, lifting hay bales and driving tractors… but I’d have to tell him that there’s only so much time in the day.

    Playing by the book: If Ed the grown up could go back to Ed the kid and give him some advice, or a book to read, what would Ed the Grown up say/give to Ed the kid?

    Ed Vere: I’d say draw and paint as much as you can… take it seriously sometimes, because there’s no reason why you can’t do serious things at a young age. I’d say learn to play an instrument, preferably the piano… and I’d also say, have fun with it all!

    I’d give the young lad the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I still haven’t read it but I think young me would have really enjoyed it.


    Playing by the book: If someone were to create an illustrated biography of your life, who would you like to illustrate it (or different periods in your life) and why?

    Ed Vere: Well, if I can shoot for the moon I’d say Art Spiegelman. Maus is a work of complete genius, and told so empathetically. If he told the story of my life, not that it’s interesting or significant enough, I’m sure I’d learn a lot I don’t know about myself.

    It would also be pretty good if Javier Mariscal could do a chapter for the years that I lived in Barcelona.

    Playing by the book: In what ways is Max like you?

    Ed Vere: Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. My friends tell me that all my characters have something of me in them. I guess Max must have too. I suppose the way he’s most like me is that we both like to find things out… we’re curious about life, and what might be around the next corner. I’m less bothered about chasing mice though.

    Max at Night - looking for the moon900px

    Playing by the book: I hear you’re working on Max No. 3, but what about other book projects? Do you like to have several things on the go at once, or do you tend to focus on a single book at a time?

    Ed Vere: That’s right, in fact I’ve just finished Max number 3… I loved making it… a lot of fun, and a story that’s a little more complex… with a bit of jeopardy thrown in! It’ll be interesting to see how it goes down.

    I have many ideas all bubbling away at the same time, too many. It takes a long time and a lot of thinking / procrastinating to find the right idea to go forward with. But I only ever work on one book at a time. I need to keep the focus and continuity going with one thing, so I can maintain the right energy through the whole project. I’m not a great multi-tasker.

    Playing by the book: So you’re here being interviewed on Playing by the book… what’s the last thing you did / place you visited / something you made having been inspired by a book you’ve read?

    Ed Vere: What a great question, and not an easy one to answer… There are so many books that have influence, indirectly, over your life… Thinking of one that had such a powerfully direct & immediate effect is hard. Possibly the answer would be more a way of thinking than a direct action, an approach to the way I live my life. The book is ‘The Songlines’ by Bruce Chatwin. It talks about our instinct for nomadism, which comes from pre-agrarian revolution times when we were wandering the plains hunting and gathering. He starts the book travelling to Australia to research the Aboriginal concept of Songlines… The routes walked by the ancestors who sang the world into creation and that are still traversed by Aborigines today, handed down generation after generation. Travelling was an essential part of life, for many reasons… to discover the world, to trade, to find food sources, to widen the gene pool. The second half of the book is a collection of writings by himself and others talking about Nomadism in different cultures and through the ages. It rang true in many ways for me, and I suppose it’s effect is an approach to life which is a little freer and less tied down. If that makes any sense?


    Many thanks to Ed for today’s interview. Here’s the US book trailer for the first Max story:

    You can catch up with Ed here:
    Ed’s website
    Ed on Twitter
    Ed on Facebook

    4 Comments on An interview with Ed Vere, last added: 9/21/2015
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    15. Lisa Brown – Illustrator Interview

    I invited Lisa onto Miss Marple’s Musings because I fell in love with her art for her latest collaboration—MUMMY CAT, written by Marcus Ewert! As a feline-fanatic, I this memorable story within a story set in Ancient Egypt is one … Continue reading

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    16. Momo's Kitten

    Momo's Kitten. Mitsu and Taro Yashima. 1961. Viking. 33 pages. [Source: Bought]

    First sentence: Momo's family moved out West from New York City to Los Angeles, but Momo did not see any ranches or cowboys around her. Instead of these, on the way home from the nearby market one afternoon she found a miserable kitten under a geranium bush by the sidewalk. "If your father says it's all right, you may keep the kitty," Mother said. Momo made herself ready to cry in case Father should say it was not all right.

    Premise/plot: Momo, the heroine, finds a stray kitten and gets to keep it. To her surprise, but probably not to her parents' surprise, her cat, Nyan-Nyan grows up to have kittens of her own. She's not allowed to keep the kittens, but consoles herself, in a way, by making birth certificates for each kitten as they are given away. The illustration of the certificate I found quite charming. I would say this is a good, old-fashioned first-pet story.

    My thoughts: I love, love, LOVE Umbrella by Taro Yashima. I do. It's one of my favorite, favorite books. Momo's Kitten is another story starring Momo. So if you love Umbrella, you may just want to seek this out-of-print book out. Did I love it as much as Umbrella? Probably not. But I am glad I read it. I definitely enjoyed the text. Some illustrations I loved. Other illustrations not so much. I definitely found the illustrations for Umbrella to be more appealing.

    Text: 4 out of 5
    Illustrations: 3 out of 5
    Total: 7 out of 10

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    17. Neuroscience, Botticelli, and marizpan: Darra Goldstein on sugar and sweets

    When trying to gauge someone's personality, a few well-phrased questions are sometimes all it takes to light the fire of passions within someone. We had the pleasure of speaking with Darra Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, and asked her a number of questions that reveal what "bakes her cake."

    The post Neuroscience, Botticelli, and marizpan: Darra Goldstein on sugar and sweets appeared first on OUPblog.

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    18. I See Kitty, by Yasmine Surovec | Book Review

    I SEE KITTY is an adorable board book, perfect for preschoolers and younger.

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    19. ELCAF: Catifying The Public!

    I did portraits of people coming to ELCAF today.
    Here are some cool cats who turned up:

    0 Comments on ELCAF: Catifying The Public! as of 6/21/2015 5:04:00 PM
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    20. Taiwan Trip Diary: Days 11 and 12

    Dharma words and stamps from our monastery stay.

    Here we are at the end of our trip. I've been dragging these posts out in the hope I'd never reach this point. But, yes, all good things must come to an end (I've never really known why) and we were sure to cram as much fun into the last two days as possible. Starting with breakfast at The One and these coffee cups. I loved them so much I had to buy a set for home:

    I don't think my husband is as impressed with them as I am, but I thought they were cute. And they're definitely a fine example of "splash ink" technique.

    After leaving The One, we headed back up toward Taipei and a village famed for its ceramic work. We were running a bit behind schedule so we decided to forgo a sit-down lunch in favor of exploring what the street vendors had to offer. They were especially plentiful thanks to the ongoing national holiday. My choices included a steamed spinach-green onion-and-cheese bun, a fried doughnut, and a huge cup of iced lemon tea that lasted me most of the day.

    Loved this tunnel kiln! I need one at home.

    Bought chopsticks for home, too. 
    Finally learned how to use them, LOL!

    The afternoon took us further into Taipei:

    Taiwan's "White House."

    Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
    (unfortunately covered with

    . . . and the National History Museum. I thought this little pagoda was perfect painting material:

    Before studying any artwork we needed afternoon tea in the museum cafe:

    The view from the cafe windows:

    Someone actually gets to live in this building.

    These beads date from 403-221 BC.
    Still so modern. I'd buy them!

    After the museum we found ourselves in a busy part of downtown where I had the opportunity to investigate some of the backstreet shops. Thanks to having bought the pig teacups I needed a larger carry-on. I found just what I wanted in a small suitcase store: bright pink canvas and made in Taiwan. A great souvenir for future travels.

    Which store first??

    Dinner that night was once again "family style" when we met up with some of Ming Franz's cousins, former high school classmates, and teachers in a downtown restaurant. It was a genuine reunion for them all, and wonderful for us to be part of such a special evening.

    Then we were back to The Grand Hotel for our final night. By now we had traveled in a huge circle, seeing three coastlines and parts of the interior too. We also arrived back in time for  the start of "frog season." Right outside our windows: croak, croak, croak all night. As I noted in my journal: "These frogs are VERY disagreeable!"

    A grand entrance, indeed.

    Accompanied by the frog serenade, our packing lasted well into the early morning hours. We had become so spoiled in our big bus, a vehicle designed to sit 30-40 passengers when there were only 10 of us, that our daily habit was to load up the empty seats with our purchases from each stop and then forget about them. Now was the night of reckoning and everything had to find its place or get left behind. First to be discarded were all the beautiful shopping bags--so lovely but way too bulky. 

    The next morning, packed and ready for our night-time flight, we still had a full day to spend in Taipei. First stop was a visit with Welsh paper artist, Tim Budden, now a Taiwan resident, who led us to his studio through this interesting neighborhood:

    Hot spring water flows right through town.

    Mr. Budden explaining the
    intricacies of paper art.

    Following our studio tour, we were off to Taipei 101, regarded to be the world's highest completed building. We were booked for lunch on the ground floor at an Anthony Bourdain-recommended restaurant specializing in xiao long bao, steamed soup dumplings. Yum.

    Before lunch we had 30 minutes to ride up to the 89th-floor. 

    Next and final stop: The Eslite Book Store. The best bookstore in the whole world. Several stories high, filled with treasures I'll never see here in the USA, I could have moved in permanently. I bought more brush pens (black, forest green, gray, and rust red), a book on painting cats in the Chinese style, and a book on French shabby chic. In Chinese. Don't judge.

    And then we were off to the airport. Our superb and talented tour guide gifted us all with special little items to remember our trip. For me it was a wooden key-ring carved into the shape of horse complete with saddle, bridle, and tons of intricate detail. She told me she had chosen a horse so that I "may keep traveling, and go far." She also gave me a postcard of a Taiwanese kitten, "Because you love cats!" 

    On the way to the airport . . .

    After dinner on the plane I think I slept more soundly than I did at the monastery. I don't remember much about the flight home except for the movie I watched before falling asleep: The Crossing--a recent film set in Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. It was excellent, and a real tear-jerker, but then it suddenly ended with the words 'To be continued." Apparently Part II comes out this summer, but I wanted to keep watching!

    Along with two of my travel companions, I had decided earlier to stopover in San Francisco before going home to Albuquerque, and I'm glad I did, but it sure seemed strange (and lonely) to be on our own without the group or my roommate.

    A room of my own.
    New pink Taiwan travel bag in the back there.

    My version of my cat postcard:
    "This kitty is sad to leave Taiwan."

    And then we flew into Albuquerque, and . . .  that's all, folks, 12 unforgettable days of Taiwan. I hope you've enjoyed reading my trip diary; I certainly enjoyed sharing it with you. May you one day travel far and wide, too!

    (Next post: A review of my travel sketch supplies, what worked, what didn't. Stay tuned.)

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    21. How To Catch A Mouse (2015)

    How To Catch a Mouse. Philippa Leathers. 2015. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    First sentence: This is Clemmie. Clemmie is a brave, fearsome mouse catcher. She is excellent at stalking and chasing. She is patient and alert. She knows everything about how to catch a mouse. In fact, Clemmie is such a fearsome mouse catcher that she has never even seen a mouse. All the mice are afraid of me, thinks Clemmie. 

    Premise/plot: Clemmie is confident that she knows everything about how to catch a mouse. But does she know as much as she thinks she does? Could a mouse be right in plain sight and Clemmie not know about it? Perhaps! Hint: The illustrations are EVERYTHING to the story.

    My thoughts: I loved the story. I did. I thought it was wonderful. I loved how the illustrations tell so much of the story. The illustrations communicate a lot to the reader. In addition, the illustrations are just so precious and adorable. I loved Clemmie as a character as well. And I loved the "new trick" that she learned towards the end of the book.

    Definitely recommended to cat lovers!

    Text: 4 out of 5
    Illustrations 5 out of 5
    Total: 9 out of 10

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    You can now commission me for portraits, as long as you're happy to be an animal in it.

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    23. Twins

    I'm having a lot of fun doing portrait commissions.
    Here is a matching set of twin girls.

    Get a treat for someone while I still have the time to draw these! Once I'm getting into the next big picture book project I'll be too busy...

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    24. Space Cat Portraits

    Today I drew people as Space Cats, as part of the Galactic Fete at Creation Space London.
    I especially enjoyed drawing families - I asked them to do a space pose. 

    I managed to forget my drawing pen, so I had to hack a writing pen by adding a pipette I happened to have in my brush roll as a reservoir for drawing ink. I also cut a nib from a beer can and used some correction fluid and a toothbrush for stars.

    Well, that was fun.

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    25. Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat

    Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat. (Henry and Mudge #8) Cynthia Rylant. Sucie Stevenson. 1990. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Bought]

    One night Henry and Henry's father and Henry's big dog Mudge were watching TV.

    I enjoyed reading Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat. I don't remember ever having read any titles in the Henry and Mudge series. So this was my first. My first impressions of the series are good, I think.

    Henry's family takes in a stray cat; this stray cat is unique looking: it looks like mashed prunes. The family is happy to take the cat in--for a few days, a few weeks. But because having Mudge is like having five dogs--that they can't take the cat into their home permanently.

    The first chapter is about taking the stray cat into their home. The second chapter is about how happy the cat is in her new home, and, how much Mudge loves being mothered by the cat. Essentially the family does come to like the cat. The third chapter is "bittersweet" I suppose. The cat's original owner is found, and the two are reunited. But Henry's family misses the cat.
    In one week the shabby cat had become Mudge's mother. It washed Mudge all the time. It washed Mudge's ears. It washed Mudge's eyes. It even washed Mudge's dirty feet.
    Have you read the Henry and Mudge series? Do you have a favorite title?

    © 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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