The title is charming. Purrsnikitty which comes from a play on the word "persnickety" which means "over particular, fussy, snobbish, having an aloof attitude" (http://www.dictionary.com/), is also the name of the main character of the book. She embodies all of the previously mentioned characteristics, (as evidenced by the verse below taken from the book) as do most cats.
Purrsnikitty is the purrfect bedtime book for children. It has adorable illustrations done by Cameron Bennett, is written in rhyme (which children LOVE), it is a quick-read (40 pages, which Moms and Dads love at bedtime!) and in my opinion is ideal for children ages 6 and under.
Sometimes it is hard to know what a child is thinking about and reading a book together at bedtime (or anytime) is a great way to open up a conversation. One of my favorite portions of the book is in the back where there are conversation starters in the form of questions that an adult may ask a child to further engage them . Examples of these questions are:
"Do you have brothers or sisters?"
"Do you remember how you felt when your brother or sister first came home?"
"Do you have a cat?"
"How did your cat get his or her name?"
"Why is it important to look beyond first impressions?" (which is the message or heart of this book)
Now, on to the intervew!
1. Everyone is eager to learn about your new book. Please tell us what it’s all about.
Purrsnikitty is about cats and all of the silly, funny, exasperating things they do. Even if you’re not a cat lover, you’ll have fun reading this book!
2. How did you decide to write for kids? What encouragement helped you along the way?
I’m a psychotherapist, and have been working with people for many years. Even though I see mainly adolescents and adults in my practice, I love kids, taught many to swim, raised two sons of my own, and I love sharing what I know. Children are so receptive to new ideas and are fun to work with. I saw a crooked pine tree and wrote the poem My Bent Tree, which I realized should be a picture book. One thing led to another…and before I knew it, I was writing picture books!
People who have encouraged me are those who read my poems – even before my first book for adults – Moments in Our Lives – was published.
3. How did the idea come about to write a book about cats?
I had written a book about dogs – Just Sniffing Around – and presented this at a women’s group. Following the talk, a woman came up to me and suggested I write a book about cats. I didn’t have a cat, so I looked to my cat-loving friends for suggestions.
4. What responses do you get from kids when you read Purrsnikitty?
Kids and adults love it!
5. What messages do you hope that your readers will take away from this?
In the story, another family member enters the picture. This new addition creates discomfort to our star at first, who then grows to love this new family member. The book’s messages deal with family interaction and tolerance. Also noting how important it is to look beyond first impressions. The questions I always include in the back of all my books present these questions and more, in further depth.
6. What has your illustrator brought to your story? How did you happen to choose Cameron Bennett?
Cameron and I work very closely together to create a complete story. The words and the pictures work together. Cameron is amazing at how he can capture the attitude of each character. We met while I was taking Argentine Tango lessons. Cameron was the tango instructor. Purrsnikitty is our fourth picture book collaboration. The others are My Bent Tree, The Inside Story, Just Sniffing Around – and there will be more. Cameron’s website is http://www.cameronbennettart.com/
7. Your poetry is delightful. Do you write all of your books in rhyme? And why?
Thank you. Yes, all of my books are in rhyming verse. I like that poetry is very succinct. You can say a lot in just a few words. The rhythm of the word and lines are very important to me. I hear the story.
8. We heard that you had a cat contest! Please tell us all about it.
Since I didn’t have a cat, I thought it would be fun to have a cat contest to find our star for Purrsnikitty. I decided that people should send donations to animal shelters, along with their cat photos. We had the contest locally, and we raised almost $700 for animal shelters. It was Win/ Win for our contestants as well as the shelters. We found our winner and three runners-up. The winner is on every page, and the runners-up have a picture on one page of Purrsnikitty.
9. Do you have a website? How can we pick up copies of your books?
My website is http://www.kathybrodsky.com/
My books are available through my website – especially if people would like a signed copy with a personal note in the book. Also, they’re available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. People can also request them through their local bookseller. They are also distributed by Enfield Books.
Thanks so much Kathy for such a precious book that we wish you lots of luck with and for sitting down and chatting with us today!
Cat Chat wishes you the best!