Winter Cats is the Best Way to Spend Those Christmas Checks!

Is that Christmas check burning a hole in your pocket? If there’s a youngster in your house, you should buy Winter Cats, a charming new picture book authored by prolific children’s writer Janet Lawler and illustrated by Ela Smietanka. Here’s a peek:

Willy is an indoor cat who’s never been outside. His family warns that outdoor cats are not like indoor cats.

One winter morning Willy takes a big chance and joins the outdoor cats during their Winter Carnival. Willy’s story encourages tolerance and discourages not getting to know people (or cats) before judging them. If I’d read this book during my childhood my judgmental nature might have been tempered. Although it’s a valuable message, it’s not preachy or heavy handed. It’s just a fun book with a sweet story and illustrations that can’t help but make you smile.

I often write poetry and spend hours looking for just the right words that not only rhyme but whose meter lends a song-like character to the verse. This lyrical form of writing is ubiquitous in picture books, so I felt like Lawler was a kindred soul when she described the magic that happens when you make words sing:

“Once I started reading picture books, I was hooked! I love the sounds words make and how they play off one another. Our voices are musical instruments that can make words sing across a spectrum—soft, loud, staccato, soothing, melodious, and more. When illustrations are added, both reader and listener are transported to a magical place. To a picture book place.”

Banzai, Homer, and Reno have been neutered, so I have no children (and thus, no grandkids). Most would assume I know nothing about children’s books. But as an illustrator, I often buy them for the art, and fall in love with the stories. I was a rabid Maurice Sendak fan and treasure a hand-written letter he sent to me. Obviously, I don’t have any letters from Beatrix Potter, but I’ve read (and re-read) every one of her books. Calef Brown, Eric Carle, Arnold Lobel, Andrew Rubin and Daniel Soleri–all write and/or illustrate charming children’s books that include my list of faves. (Rubin and Soleri wrote/illustrated Dragons Love Tacos. And who doesn’t love tacos?)

Lawler has been added to my list of faves, and not just because her body of work includes Winter Cats. She’s also a picture book fan:

“My passion and preference for picture books are fueled by the wonderful stories, the musical words, and the magical illustrations. Quite simply, I am a picture book addict—and I’m not looking for a cure!”

I’m not looking for a cure either!

You can buy Winter Cats on Amazon and at other booksellers.


The post Winter Cats is the Best Way to Spend Those Christmas Checks! appeared first on Mousebreath Magazine.


Winter Cats is the Best Way to Spend Those Christmas Checks!