Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Sign of the Cat Blog Tour

This has been an exciting week on Watch. Connect. Read.  It is only Thursday and I've already celebrated three book trailer premieres and two blog tours. Pinch me! 
Author Lynne Jonell dropped by to finish my sentences. I wrote the words in orange, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Lynne! 

The Sign of the Cat tells the story of Duncan, a boy who can speak Cat.  He keeps that a secret.  His mother loves him but she won’t answer his questions about his father, and she tells him he must never, ever do his best.

Why does she get upset when he gets too many As on his report card?  He doesn’t know.  

When he goes to a Cat Council in a graveyard at midnight, the mystery deepens.  And when he meets the hero of the nation, he ends up on a sailing ship, where he discovers someone is out to get him—and his kitten, Fia!

(P.S.  There is also a tiger, a princess, a mysterious machine, a swordfight, storms at sea, and lots of cats.)

Duncan thinks, at various times in his life, that his father might have been a fisherman, or a sailor, or a famous swordfighter, or in the Arvidian Island Patrol.  But he never begins to suspect the truth until one fateful moment, in the dark hold of a ship, when he reads an old newspaper clipping…

Explore Lynne Jonell's website.
I hope The Sign of the Cat will be the sort of story that kids read at night, with a flashlight under the covers, because they just can’t bear to put it down.  (And I apologize, in advance, to all the parents who want their children to get a good night’s sleep.)

Whenever I start working on a new manuscript I am like a cat on the prowl.  It is hard to settle down, to sit still, to focus.  New ideas crowd into my head and there is no real structure yet for them to land on, so they wander off.  I frantically try to capture them before they disappear altogether, but I don’t know how any of the ideas will fit in to the story, so there are a lot of scraps of paper drifting around my work area.  It’s an exciting time but there is also great despair when a book gets hold of me; each time I am quite certain that I will never be able to write it, yet the drive is so strong I am compelled to try.
Did you know Emmy, the main character in Emmy & the Incredible Shrinking Rat, is not only a good girl—the sort who eats all her vegetables and is always polite—but she is also one half of me?  (The other half is the Rat—who is  the sort who likes to sit in the back row of class and snicker behind his paw.)

School libraries were one of my favorite places, growing up.  I still remember where I was when I saw The Hobbit sitting on a shelf, and how I pulled it out and read the first page and was immediately entranced.  The library was like my very own treasure chest, and I could dig in it as I liked, for all the adventures in the world.  

Such a gift, and it was given by countless people I never knew, who worked to make libraries happen for kids like me.

Download a reader's theatre. 

Reading is a strange and wondrous thing.  Primitive societies (such as were found in Scotland when the Romans invaded) thought of reading and writing as a form of magic.  A Roman officer could give an order; someone else would make ink marks on a thin piece of wood; then, when the wood was carried miles away, the guard on duty only had to look at the piece of wood to know what the officer had said!  

Magic was the only explanation that made sense to the Scots.  And they even tried to make magic marks of their own (but no one could read them.)

Before I learned to read, I was like the ancient Scots. I would make looping marks on paper and say I was writing.  I would open a book and pretend to read.  What a magical day it was when I really learned!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what I am working on now!  

Borrow The Sign of the Cat from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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