Do you believe cats bring good luck? We do and are delighted to share a new book called Lucky Cats Paper Dolls & Maneki Neko by Maggie Swanson plus an author Q & A with her. The charming book with cut out kitty doll designs with elaborate costumes and feline stickers will captivate kids of all ages.
Odin says, the bonus 11 x 17 poster features dozens of stickers symbolizing good luck alone is worth the price of the book!
Merlin says he’s lucky and doesn’t need a lucky sticker at least not on his head. Silly mom.
I had the pleasure of chatting with seasoned illustrator and cat lover Maggie Swanson about the book and of course, cats. She’s illustrated over a 100 children’s books and is not only a cat lover but passionate cat shelter volunteer.
Q & A
By Layla Morgan Wilde with Maggie Swanson, author of Lucky Cat.
LMW: You’ve illustrated over 100 children’s books. Do you have a favorite?
MS: I think every book I’ve ever illustrated is my favorite – while I’m working on it. But, the Lucky Cat book stands out for a variety of reasons. It combines my own cats, paper dolls (which I loved as a child), the Maneki Neko Legend, and good fortune symbols. The research, and the drawing and painting, plus a happy working relationship with the publisher made this book a particular joy.
LMW: Lucky Cats is a historic overview of how different cultures perceive cats as lucky or bringing good fortune. How have cats changed your life for the better?
MS: Cats, my own and especially the cats at PAWS where I volunteer, have taught me many lessons. I see what a difference a positive attitude makes in life. The affectionate cats who are drawn to people, seeking comfort and love, generally get what they need. There are cats at the shelter who are confined to cages most of the day because they don’t get along with others. I tell them that they could roam free if only they made an effort to get along. I wish they’d listen!
LMW: Tell us a little about the volunteer work you do for cats?
MS: I started volunteering at PAWS in Norwalk, Connecticut over 13 years ago. I clean cages, feed, brush, and visit cats every Sunday morning. After a few years the staff asked me to try photographing the shelter cats. So, now I keep a small camera in my pocket, and an eye out for photo opportunities as I work. I started my blog, www.shelter-cats.com, to share the pictures.
I’ve made so many wonderful friends among the cats and people at PAWS. I highly recommend volunteering. If you’re in Connecticut, we always welcome more help!
LMW: What is the core message about cats or takeaway you’d like young readers of your books to receive?
MS: Oh, good question…I would like people of every age to realize that our animal companions should not be treated like possessions that can be discarded when they are too old or inconvenient. They bring great joy to our lives and we owe them care, love, and respect. I couldn’t say it any better than this quote by Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
One lucky Cat Wisdom 101 reader will win a copy of Lucky Cat. Simply click on the Facebook icon to “like” this post and leave a comment anytime before midnight Dec. 15, 2012. The winner will be announced next Sunday and will receive the book in time for Christmas giving.
Maggie wanted to share a little about Milo and Maggie who have lived at the PAWS shelter for almost two years. They’ve bonded and would like nothing better for Christmas than a forever home, together. Learn more about them at their page.
Odin gives his highest rating of 4 Paws! To see more of the illustrations, click on the Amazon link. Visit Maggie at MaggieSwanson.com
The winner of last week’s Irish Holiday Tales book giveaway is da tabbies o trout town. Congratulations! Look for an email from Layla and Cat Wisdom 101. We hope you translate your Gaelic comment.