Educational & Youth Publishing

Featured Books and Authors

Where the learning never ends ...

The Next Big Thing Welcomes Caroline Stutson!

May 22, 2013

Tags: We celebrate Caroline's charming Cats' Night Out ...

Another entry in The Next Big Thing virtual authors' blog tour, we feature Caroline Stutson's picture book, Cats' Night Out. No library or first grade math class should be without it!

What is the title of your book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to do a different kind of counting book. Young fans seemed to like the difference, too. I received one letter that told me “… the book I rilly like is Cats Nihgt Out … beccuess it cawnts bie tows.” (In case you’re wondering, that’s: “because it counts by twos.”) Dancing in pairs seemed like a natural way to demonstrate this, and what’s not charming about pairs of dancing cats?

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a picture book for ages 4 and up.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, so many great dancers to choose from, from the classic to the contemporary. A short list? Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Gregory Hines, Michael Flatley, Beyonce, Paula Abdul, and Christina Aguilera. Not sure how many you’d need for all those cats. We might even give Grumpy Cat a cameo, though I doubt she’d enjoy it.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Maybe Booklist said it best: “It’s Saturday night on Easy Street, and this jazzy counting book reveals that the city’s hot spots are its rooftops, fire escapes, and alleyways, where pairs of cool kitties dance the night away.”

Who is publishing your book?

It was published by Paula Wiseman Books in 2010.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About one month.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would chose THE FIRE CAT (1960 and still in print) by Esther Averill.)
(Pickles doesn't know what to do with his big paws so he chases the little cats until a neighborhood friend gives him some help.). Also MILLIONS OF CATS by Wanda Gag.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I like young children. I like their wacky sense of humor, their contagious giggling and rolling-on-the-floor laughter. They laugh. We laugh. We need to laugh to survive. And I like their wide-eyed wonder, their feeling that anything and everything is possible, even dancing cats.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The illustrations by J. Klassen are brilliantly understated. He somehow captures the grace and elegance of these cats dancing in, on, and over gritty urban scenes.

Next week, guess blogger Christine Liu Perkins will discuss her upcoming nonfiction longtime labor of love--AT HOME IN HER TOMB: LADY DAI AND THE ANCIENT CHINESE TREASURES OF MAWANGDUI, due out in 2014!


  1. May 22, 2013 12:35 PM MDT
    It's such a delightful book. And you're right, what's not to love about dancing cats!
    - Hilari Bell

Cool Quotes

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have dome them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ... who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

-Theodore Roosevelt

"The question is not what a man can scorn, or disparage, or find fault with, but what he can love, and value, and appreciate."
-John Ruskin

It’s a myth that writers write what they know. We write what it is that we need to know.
-Marcie Hersman

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
- Paul Ehrlich

Nothing softeneth the Arrogance of our Nature like a
Mixture of some Frailties.
It is by them that we are best told,
that we must not strike too hard
upon others
because we ourselves do
so often deserve blows.
They pull our Rage by the sleeve
and whisper
Gentleness to us in our censures.


Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty
and frightened.
Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

“We are here and it is now. The way I see it is, after that, everything tends towards guesswork.”
-Didactylos in Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

"Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they’re the four hugest words in the world when they’re put together.

"You can do it."

-Sherman Alexie, from
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

"It is blissfully simple to strike a savvy, sophisticated pose by attacking someone else’s creations, but the old adage is right: Any fool can burn down a barn. Building one is something else again." -Martha Beck

"Live in the active voice rather than the passive. Think more about what you make happen than what is happening."
-William De Witt Hyde

"The soul of a child demands these mighty passions, opposition and adversity."
-Isak Dinesen

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'"
-Mary Anne Radmacher

"That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time."
-John Stuart Mill

"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit."
-Wade Davis

"It is so easy to be cynical. It's an accurate reflection of reality. It's much harder; it takes a philosophical point of view, to be optimistic. You have to work at it every day. One of the joys of working with children is that they are still unspoiled by cynicism."
-Yo-Yo Ma

"Story means pleasure, as distinct from art; it would rather gratify than edify.
But stories also protect us from chaos, and maybe that’s what we, unblinkered at the end of the twentieth century, find ourselves craving. Implicit in the extraordinary revival of storytelling is the possibility that we need stories—that they are a fundamental unit of knowledge, the foundation of memory, essential to the way we make sense of our lives: the beginning, middle, and end of our personal and collective trajectories. It is possible that narrative is as important to writing as the human body is to representational painting. We have returned to narratives—in many fields of knowledge—because it is impossible to live without them."
-Bill Buford, 1996

"Adulthood is the consequence of decisions made by a teenager."

"Kids are not stupid. They're just short." —Jack Prelutsky