Friday, September 8, 2017

Spotlight Friday - Here Comes Teacher Cat 9.08.17

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

I remember finding the first "Cat" book at my first Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast.  It was Here Comes the Easter Cat and I really didn't know what to expect.  I did not expect to meet a slightly devious character who, by the end of the book, always learns something unexpected.  Cat is just the kind of character I have always loved.  Definitely not perfect, but underneath it all, he really does have a heart (maybe not of gold, but it's a heart)!

Here Comes Teacher Cat
Here Comes Teacher Cat
written by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Claudia Rueda
published by Dial Books

The new book in the series is going to be such a fun one to share at the beginning of the school year.  It can be shared at any time, but since we're heading into fall, I want to introduce students to this character sooner than later!

I'm really excited that I had a chance to ask the illustrator, Claudia Rueda a few questions.  Thank you, Claudia, for stopping by and answering them!

1.  With books like the "Cat" series that have a shorter amount of text, how do you figure out the extra details you include in the illustrations that add to the story?

The Cat books were a very interesting challenge for me as an illustrator. From the beginning of the series I knew that most of the visual narrative for the story was going to be concentrated on Cat's facial and corporal expressions. There was no need to add much background or many details different from Cat and a white background, very theatrical. So I worked for many weeks on sketching Cat's appearance and I created hundreds of expressions. Some of the other details were suggested by Deborah or by the wonderful editorial team at Dial. Others were suggested by me, but only for the sake of clarity or to make the story funnier or to make the characters look more adorable.

2.  How much do you and Deborah work together to figure out what needs to be shown in the illustrations that is not mentioned in the text?  And with that, have you ever added in something completely different than what Deborah was thinking?

Deborah had the wonderful idea of making rough sketches for each page to go along with her manuscript. That was so clever! She was aware of the fact that an important part of the narrative in a picture book is in the images. And her sketches were a great starting point for me to be able to create the illustrations. I believe that's the reason why our Cat books work so well in terms of the relationship between verbal and visual narratives. To the second part of the question, I did not make any radical change on the narrative because this was Deborah's story. My work was to decide how Cat would look like and to play (a lot!) with his facial and corporal expressions.

3.  Cat is my favorite character because he's just the right amount of devious.  What devious scene have you enjoyed illustrating the most?

I agree. And that makes him even more adorable! I would say that one of my favorite illustrations is in the Valentine's Cat book where he's showing a Valentine's sign and he's making an ugly face at the same time.

Thank you to Claudia for taking the time to answer these questions and for the good folks at Dial Publishing for providing the review copy.

I hope you've fallen in love with Cat just as I have.  I've already read Teacher Cat to 4th graders and all of my Cat books are now checked out from my library!  Make sure you find this series and share it with your readers!


  1. I love Cat! Great to see another book ins the series by Deborah!

  2. Love Deborah & Claudia's cat books. Haven't yet read this one, but I will :)!