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The Next Big Thing Welcomes Caroline Stutson!

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?

CATS’ NIGHT OUT

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!
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