The Christmas Cats Series
I write a series called The Christmas Cats (www.TheXmasCats.com) for my granddaughters, Ava (dark hair) and Elise (the blonde), who are now eight years old. Here is some information about the books. If your child got a new Kindle for Christmas or you and your child would like to have the rhyming stories for use in the future, buy them now from Amazon. Occasionally there are discount days which I always notify readers about through my newsletter.
I began writing The Christmas Cats for my granddaughters when they were three years old. The books are “throw-back” books to what I learned in elementary schools of the fifties when early readers featured Dick and Jane and the policeman on the beat was always your friend. The books resemble Dr. Seuss books in that they rhyme and the cats of the title are a troupe of hardy do-gooders who go about helping other animals in distress.
The Christmas Cats In Silly Hats
The first book ‘s illustrations were drawn by Andy Weinert of East Moline (IL), a friend of my daughter’s, when I had two cats that were constantly fighting. I learned that Andy’s mother was Rita Mankowski, one of the smartest 7th graders I ever had in nearly 20 years of teaching 7th and 8th grade Language Arts at Silvis Junior High, and that sealed the deal. Andy was then a high school student who showed much artistic promise. (He has gone on to earn a Master’s in graphic design). When I asked him to draw a series of cats wearing “silly hats” he did a wonderful Grandma Moses-style treatment and the rhyming text shows the cats learning to get along with others, rather than constantly fighting with each other (Lesson #1). However, AuthorHouse lost one-half of Andy’s original drawings (a bad lesson learned about dealing with AuthorHouse) and, when it came time to try to make the book just from the scans in my computer, years had passed and I drafted the girls’ Venezuelan nanny, Emily Marquez Vlcek to help finish the message and do some additional drawings linking the story to the season.
[Book Number One has been permanently priced at $ .99 since it was drawn by a student, and finished by my granddaughters’ Venezuelan nanny, who took over duties from Andy when he was involved in completing his Master’s degree in graphic design at Northern Illinois University.]
The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats
The second book, “The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats”, featured the intrepid cats checking in on lab rats at Green Laboratories, to make sure they were being treated well. The message was “Do not judge others without knowing, or prejudice you will be showing” So, DON’T BE PREJUDICED. A good lesson for all time, but especially for these times.
Book two urges acceptance and advises against prejudice. “It’s best to be open and trusting and kind, and always to keep an open mind.” Learn to accept others in a non-judgemental, open-minded fashion. This book also has clever, colorful illustrations by award-winning artist Gary McCluskey, and a story from Constance (Corcoran) Wilson, veteran educator. The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats makes the case that we should judge others fairly based on real-life experience, not on stereotypes that might not be true. It is a plea for all to help others, keep an open mind and avoid prejudice.
The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats
Book #3, “The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats” featured bats wreaking havoc at South Park Mall (there is one in Moline, IL, as well as in the Dallas/Fort Worth area) and the cats teach the lesson that all life has value and every creature has a place in the Universe. Hallmark artist Gary McCluskey can also take credit for creating the first upside-down Christmas tree, far ahead of this year’s fad. (Bats hang their Christmas trees upside-down, you know.) Austin people, you’ll love this one!
This book is a Seussical tale for young children which builds upon the morals of the first two Christmas Cats books. It urges everyone to honor life in all its forms, and to love and accept all God’s creatures. Some animals — (puppies and kitties come to mind) — are popular with nearly everyone. Others — (spiders, lizards, bats, etc.) — may not seem as worthy, but all are small cogs in the universe. Bats serve a very usefull purpose in God’s grand scheme. All life should be valued. The bats of story three are just as deserving of respect and have as much of a right to life as any other creature on the planet.
The Christmas Cats Fear For The Deer
Book #4, “The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer“, featured beautifully drawn deer in Scott County Park (Davenport, IA), who, although well within the city limits, were in danger from hunters allowed to “thin the herd.” The Cats came to the rescue, spiriting them from the park by means of the CatCopter and ferrying them to the North Pole, where they were fitted with prosthetic antlers and fly with Santa. This book exists in hard cover format as well (although only available by contacting me, only in limited quantities, and costing $25 plus $3 postage). The color copies were run by ColorWise Press of Indiana and are gorgeous. The back of the book contains interactive activities for children, including puzzles and coloring book pages, and we encouraged children to send them to the series dedicated website, www.TheXmasCats.com. Because only limited copies were run, the books were among the most beautiful in terms of color and quality, but paying $19 a book (the publisher’s price_) means that one of these books in hard cover, plus postage, is going to set readers back $28, so it remains something that is only able to be purchased by contacting me via ConnieCWilson.com or WeeklyWilson.com or on LinkedIn. It is available through Amazon in paperback and e-book, however.
The Christmas Cats Care For The Bear
The final book in the series (so far) is “The Christmas Cats Care for the Bear” and it has an anti-bullying message, as the cats spring into action to help a little bear who is being bullied by others because he is pudgy and has funny hair. It is a book made for today’s youth and the interactive pages at the back of the book were increased, while the cost of running the book dropped dramatically as we transferred the book’s publication to Ingram Spark. The hard cover book of the most recent title is in the $12.95 range, from Amazon, while paperbacks and e-books are also available.
This book teaches that we should all be kinder to one another. Saying kind things and not mean things is a much better way to live than making fun of others because they are different. In this year’s book, the Christmas Cats are urging others to be kind, considerate and civil. The Christmas Cats oppose bullying others for any reason.
Now, more than ever, this is a great lesson to teach children between the ages of 3 and 10.
The Christmas Cats Flee The Bee
The book contains many coloring book pages from the previous 5 books, involving cats, rats, bats, deer and a bear. Additionally, a free coloring book comprised of illustrations by Gary McCluskey from the first five books are provided to book buyers in PDF form to thank them for their prior patronage in following the adventures of the intrepid Christmas Cats.
What Comes Next?
I always said I would write the books until the girls turned 10, which is fast approaching. I did not have a book this year because we were too involved in building a house near the son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters in Austin, Texas, but “The Christmas Cats Flee from the Bee” may be coming for next Christmas, if Gary McCluskey is still available to lend his fantastic illustrations to another story with a message. That story will be about a golden-haired bee that hates the Queen Bee and does everything he can to destroy her, but soon faces his own come-uppance when the rest of the hive unites to drive him from their colony.