Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) by Phaea Crede and Terry Runyan

Hello, Phaea Crede! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! I’m so grateful you stopped by to discuss and celebrate your fabulous debut picture book, Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat). I smiled the entire time I was reading it. It’s going to be a BIG hit during storytime. What planted the seed for this story?

Phaea Crede: Aw, thank you John. The idea for Jet was inspired by a cat named Eddie. Eddie is a big, tough, black cat who loves to swim in the bathtub. Since I’d always thought cats hated water, I found this intriguing. I tried to imagine what another cat might say to Eddie and his love for swimming. Maybe the other cat would be mean about it — even accusing Eddie of not being a real cat. That sparked the idea of a cat who would try to reinvent herself until she realized that she was perfect just the way she was.

And when I was writing the story, I realized I was also writing in a way about my own challenges with dyslexia. When I was a child, I love to write stories but struggled with spelling and grammar. I got so frustrated that I decided around age 8 that “real writers don’t have dyslexia” and gave up. It took almost 25 years to finally realize I could be a writer, cognitive disability and all!

Scenario: Imagine you’re telling 200 school librarians (I love the goat’s shout-out to school librarians) about Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)? What do you share with them?

Phaea Crede: First — I love you all. Librarians are super stars.

Second — Jet the Cat is a story for any kid who worries that they are weird. Jet’s funny journey shows her that there’s nothing weird about being your 100% authentic self, even if other people don’t understand it. But Jet’s story also sheds light on the true fact that anyone who tries to dim another person’s light, probably has something “weird” about themselves they’re trying to hide. In the end Jet the cat who loves to swim, Tom the cat who loves a mouse, and all the other characters just stop judging each other and have fun instead. That’s the world I want to live in!

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Terry Runyan’s illustrations brought sweetness, vulnerability and comedy to Jet’s world! Terry’s the queen of drawing cats (check her out on Instagram), and co-creating this book with her was a dream.

Cats are mysterious, funny, awkward, mean, grumpy, sweet, and perfect — just like people!

Picture books are books for everyone at every age.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if I still have the F&G of Grace Lin's A BIG BED FOR LITTLE SNOW you gave me at the 2019 New England SCBWI conference? The answer is sadly no, because while we read it constantly for a year, my little daughter Mabel finally ate parts of it while I wasn’t looking.

Awwww! I love that! Thank you, Phaea! 

Phaea Crede writes silly stories for silly kids. Serious kids, too! Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) is her debut picture book. Phaea lives outside Boston, USA, with her husband, two kiddos, and a slightly stinky dog named Gus. 

Terry Runyan loves animals, particularly cats, and you'll usually find furry, feathery and fishy friends in her work. She teaches art classes online and enjoys sharing her journey and insights on her highly popular social media platforms. Terry lives in Leawood, Kansas.

Borrow Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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