Happy Book Birthday to Tiny Kitty, Big City by Tim Miller!

Hello, Tim Miller! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! Lou Grant told me to tell you THANK YOU for the portrait you drew of him. You captured him beautifully.

Hi, John! Thanks so much for having me today.Please tell Mr. Lou Grant how happy I am that he likes his portrait. He’s such a picturesque kitty. He makes a great mews!

Thank you for discussing Tiny Kitty, Big City with me today. Let’s start with the book’s dedication, specifically how it is designed. 

Tim Miller: I’m excited to share Tiny Kitty, Big City with you. Thank you for bringing up the dedication in the book. It’s such a subtle part that’s easy to breeze past, but it’s important to me and it helps set the tone for the story. It reads –

To all the kitties out there who need a home, and to everyone who has ever opened up their heart to one.

The layer that makes it extra special for me, is that my awesome Art Director, Dana Fritts, arranged the text in the shape of a heart. I wish I could take full credit for thinking of that, but it was my wife’s idea. I love how sincerely it hits the message home.

Scenario: Imagine you’re booktalking Tiny Kitty, Big City to kindergarteners. What would you share with them?

Tim Miller; Before I even introduced the book, I would ask everyone to close their eyes and quietly imagine that they’re a tiny kitty living on their own in a big city. What do you see? What do you hear? Where do you go? What do you do? What’s it like to live in a big city for a tiny kitty like you? Then, we would open our eyes and read the book, and afterwards I would ask everyone to share some thoughts. Who is Kitty? What kinds of adventures does Kitty have? How do you think Kitty feels at the end of the story, and why? Then, to wrap things up, I would surprise the children with pictures of the real-life stray kittens that I rescued in New York City that inspired me to make the book.

Where is your favorite spot to stand in New York City? Mine is in front of or beside the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain.

Tim Miller: That’s a great spot. I love it there too. It has a such a vibrant pulse to it, which reminds me how much I miss being out in the middle of all that right now.

For me, I would have to say, that a favorite place to stand is at the top of the stairs in Grand Central Station. It’s such a monumental iconic space, and it still feels unreal to me be there after growing up 3000 miles away on a farm, and only experiencing it as a kind of fantasy through television and movies. I love that it transports you through time, and it’s mesmerizing to watch the flow of people on the move and hear the sound of voices criss-crossing from every which way and echoing throughout. It really casts a spell, especially when you look up and see the stars of the zodiac signs twinkling above. Now, that I’m thinking about it, I can’t believe I didn’t put that in the book. Shame on me!

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Tiny Kitty, Big City’s endpapers are a trail of pawprints inviting readers to follow Kitty on her journey through the crowded noisy city with a special treat waiting to surprise them at the end.

Did you know that I have three rescue cats? Their names are Jerry, Lulu, and Keiko. My wife and I adopted them from a fantastic non-profit cat rescue in Jersey City called Jersey Cats. Our friend Mika Song, the talented creator of Donut Feed the Squirrels and other wonderful books, recently adopted a kitty from them too. The cat’s name is Squirrel, can you believe it?!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me... “Hey, Tim. I sure hear you talking a lot about cats, cats, cats. Is Tiny Kitty, Big City just a book for cat people, or will other people enjoy it too, like dog people for instance?

That’s a great question John. I’m so glad that you asked. Tiny Kitty, Big City, isn’t just a book for cat lovers, it’s a book for anyone who holds special place in their heart for animals. I think the sentiment at the core of the story is purr-ty universal in that respect. Also, I think dog people will be pleased that pups get some primetime coverage in the book as well.

Thank you, Tim! 

Tim Miller is the author-illustrator of Moo Moo in a Tutu and What’s Cooking, Moo Moo? and the illustrator of the picture books Horse Meets Dog by Elliott Kalan, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!) and Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever! (Probably) by Julie Falatko, and Margarash by Mark Riddle as well as the middle grade series Hamstersaurus Rex by Tom O’Donnell. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and three cats. Tiny Kitty, Big City is inspired by the real-life story of rescuing a litter of kittens in New York City and finding them homes.

Borrow Tiny Kitty, Big City from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

HarperCollins' Description: 

A heartwarming, gorgeously illustrated picture book of an adorable cat finding its forever home, from acclaimed author-artist Tim Miller.

Tiny, brave, playful kitty goes on an adventure through the crowded, noisy city in a story about finding love and kindness in unexpected places.

The kitten’s bravery, loneliness, playfulness, joy, camaraderie, and curiosity create a rich, emotional journey. The story reflects Tim Miller's passionate advocacy for animal rescue.

No tiny kitty fan will be able to resist this triumphant story of overcoming the odds in the big city.


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