Let’s get Catty – and a Competition!

Today, I’m going to be a little bit… catty. I’m hosting a cat book on my katswhiskers blog, so we’re running to a theme… and running a competition! (Today’s competition is a little bit different to the other competition that’s running throughout the blog tour at http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au.)

But firstly, welcome Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie – and congratulations on your dreamy new picture book, ‘A Year with Marmalade’.

Thanks very much!

Thank you, Kat!

To start the ball rolling… In keeping with the blog, can you each tell me one thing that you think is… the kat’s whiskers? (Or mayhaps it’s the cat’s whiskers.)

Perhaps my new baby daughter, Ava!

Oooh. Lovely! Congratulations, Heath. I’m sure Ava is the kat’s whiskers!

My family and dog. Although I’m not sure if the dog will like being referred to as the kat’s whiskers! 

Haha! Now that could be a little bit catty, Alison. ;)

Where did you find Marmalade, Alison?  Is he the type of pet you would want to keep forever?

When I was little I had a very special green-eyed cat called Charlotte. I feel as if a cat based on her was just waiting to pop into my mind. I was brainstorming book ideas with my publisher, and we wanted a sort of self-contained character, which is a very cat-like characteristic.  I definitely wouldn’t want to give Marmalade away. I spent half my childhood unsuccessfully trying to convince my parents to let me have another pet.

Alison, is Marmalade one of those cats who willfully does his own thing? Or does he have a soft and smoochy side?

Marmalade is a mixture of snuggles and snarls. He is very independent, but wants to be included and loved. Much like most of us!

Not being an artist myself, I’m always fascinated by the Illustrator’s process. Heath, there’s a lot of whitespace in this gentle, breezy book – almost a touch of whimsy. What influenced your decision in terms of colour and whitespace – and characters?

I felt a simpler approach would suit this particular story – something gentle and not too over-thought or designed. Hence the approach of letting the line do most of the talking and leaving colour to make a single statement in each image.

What I find particularly interesting, is that the children (Ella & Maddy) are line drawings – not colour. Yet Marmalade, who would seem to be of equal importance to Ella, is colour. As is background. What is the artistic reasoning behind this, Heath?

Given a big and striking part of the different seasons, from a visual point of view atleast, is the many distinct colours that emerge each year – colour was always going to be the best way to highlight the changing seasons (and then a little extra here and there where an image might not have a direct seasonal element to focus on!)

As for Marmalade’s colour – for a long while, Marmalade wasn’t in colour but ultimately it was decided Marmalade, being the key player here, might need to stand out that bit more – and fair enough too!

The seasons! When you say it, it is of course, very logical. (I feel a bit of a scatterkat for asking!)

Alison What five individual words best describe Marmalade?

  1. Watchful
  2. Awkward
  3. Fun-loving
  4. Loyal
  5. Purrfect

It’s the ‘awkward’ makes Marmalade so real and loveable, Alison.

HeathI’m hoping you have that cat-like quality of landing on your feet, because I’m going to throw you a challenge… I’m pretty good at drawing the katswhiskers (to the right -> ) but that’s my limit. I’m hoping you can extend my repertoire a bit, and skill me up on some other cat moves.

To help you out, I’ve listed some catty emotions I thought you might cat-ture!

  • ’fraidy cat
  • ecscatic cat
  • purrrrfect cat
  • catastrophic cat
  • caterwauling cat
  • cat-ching cat – on the prowl

They’re gorgeous, Heath!! So much personality on the page.

Now it’s over to you, Alison! What can YOU do with Heath’s examples? (Yes – I am asking you to draw a cat pic for us. :P)

I’m no scaredy cat, Kat. But remember, I never claimed to be a artist!

A very catatonic cat, Alison. And clever word play. Well done, you!

COMPETITION TIME!

READERS:  This is your chance to get catty!

1.  Draw your best cat picture. You can have a bit of fun with it like we did.
2.  Email it to; contactkat @ optusnet . com . au (no spaces) by 8pm this Friday, 17th August, and
3.  YOU are in with a chance to win your own, signed, original Heath McKenzie cat picture!

Please keep cat files less than 300kb. 

Your pictures will be posted to the katswhiskers blog on Sunday, 19th August, when we will also announce the winner, as decided by Heath and Alison.

So – pick up a pencil, pen or piece of charcoal and get drawing!

Want to read more about ‘A Year with Marmalade’? Follow the blog tour;

A Year with Marmalade Blog Tour

7th Aug Dee White;  http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
9th Aug Karen Tyrrell;  http://www.karentyrrell.com
11th Aug Tania McCartney;  http://www.kids-bookreview.com
13th Aug  Pass It On;  http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/school-magazine
14th Aug  Kathryn Apel;  http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/blog
17th Aug  Dale Harcombe;  http://orangedale.livejournal.com
20th Aug  Peter Taylor;  http://writing-for-children.blogspot.com.au
22nd Aug  Susan Stephenson;  http://www.thebookchook.com
23rd Aug  Robyn Opie Parnell;  http://robynopie.blogspot.com.au
27th Aug Sally Odgers;  http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com.au
29th  Aug  Angela Sunde;  http://angelasunde.blogspot.com.au
31st Aug Chris Bell;  http://christinemareebell.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing your cats! >^,^<

Madness – I’m Sane Again

The Madness Poetry Tournament continues over at Ed DeCaria’s blog – but I am sane again. :P I was knocked out of the tournament in Round Four, and seem to have spent the last 36hrs fighting sleep. (Five hours sleep per night isn’t enough for me. Who knew? Who knew sustained suspense could take such a toll?)

You can still follow the madness at Ed’s Think Kid, Think blog – and vote on the remaining two rounds. I’ll be there, voting.

Meanwhile, here is my collection of poems, inspired by the Madness. If you click on the pictures, they will take you direct to the match-up on Ed’s blog. Remembering that each poem had to include a given prompt word… All poetry on this page is Copyright Kathryn Apel, 2012.

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Madness – Round Four

Round Four. In truth, when Ed asked us at the start of the tournament where we thought we’d finish, I didn’t expect to make it this far. I think that may be why I’ve second-guessed every poem I started this round! I’ve written four… started more (!!!)… polished two.

This is my first. I hope my second is better – because it’s the one I entered for the Madness, over at Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid, Think site!

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Madness – Round Three

Click on the picture to go direct to the match-up.

Voting has started on Round Three of the March Madness poetry tournament, over at Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid, Think blog. The competition is fierce and beautiful. Two musical poems that both capture the essence of music. Whatever the outcome of today’s tightly contested poem, I’m so grateful to Ed and Allan, for pushing me to write this heartfelt sonnet. And whilst it’s making it very tricky for the voters, I’m also glad that Allan’s poem is heart too – in a humorous way. What a wonderful contrast of our words.

Go over now and vote! There are four match-ups left to be contested in this round. Some exquisite poetry.

6-scratched-vs-15-virtuoso: CLICK TO VIEW THIS MATCHUP!

Madness – Through Round One

Quick update on the March Madness knock-out poetry tournament.

I’m relieved and delighted to say that I made it through Round One of the March Madness – which was a tough battle against a great poem by Carol Wilc. I am now in the next ‘anxious wait’ period – waiting for my next word to be posted. In Round Two, I’m up against Laura Salas, who won Round One with her ‘knack’ poem.

As with all things to do with children’s writing, I am finding the competition to be fantastic fun and friendly! The children’s writing crew has always been one big happy family, and whilst I hadn’t met many of the #MMPoetry crew prior to this event, I am again enjoying being a part of a wider kid-lit community.

A fantabulous event over at Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid Think blog. I hope you can follow us into Round Two!

March Madness Round One: Dotted

The March month of poetry Madness is well underway, over on Ed DeCaria’s ThinkKidThink blog. You  really should visit, read and vote, because it’s a heap of fun!  My Round One poem is now up – and the 36hr clock is ticking down…

My word was ‘dotted’ – and being the lower seeded poet (seeds are determined by degree of difficulty of the word) I knew I had to do something tricky to gain ground. I was hoping I wasn’t going too far out on a limb… (In fact, I had two poems I was tossing up between, and had to put it to a mini-in-house-vote to decide on an entry.) This morning I woke all anxious eagerness to read the poems, and I see that Carol, too has taken a risk with her poem. And done well! (I like risk-taking in poetry, but there always is that element of… risk!)

Click the picture to go direct to our poems.

So – what do you think? You’ll have to skip across to the melee of Madness, to find out. I’d love it if you vote for me – but seriously, you vote for the poem that you like best! (And while you’re there, check out all the other great battles, too. It’s fantastic. Well done, Ed!!!)

These links will help you navigate the Madness more easily.

March Madness – Poetry Tournament

After writing a poem a day for January, and a haiku a day for February, it most definitely IS madness to have put my name down for a poetry tournament in March – but silly, smart or otherwise, I’ve done it. And I’m sure it will be fun! You can read more about it at  Ed DeCaria’s blog, Think Kid, Think. (You can read the official rules here.)

Today the draw went up. Pressure is mounting! It’s a knock-out tournament, so each round – each poem – counts! My Round One ‘opponent’ is Carol Wilc. (It’s okay, Carol. I play nice. :P)  Continue reading

DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA – Blog Tour and Giveaway

This past week I’ve enjoyed reading the backstory for the wonderful new-release Walker picture book, DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA, by Sally Murphy and Sonia Kretschmar. Both Sally and Sonia have a swag of awards and commendations to their names, and collaboratively, they have created a rich and warm picture book that Australians can be proud of.

DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA tells the story of Henri and Billy, two boys who are oceans apart, but together in heart. Billy’s Australian father is fighting the war near Henri’s French hometown, Villers-Bretonneux. The year is 1918.

Inspired by a significant battle in World War I, the story doesn’t focus on the despair of war. Rather, the illustrations and text gently move the story past death and destruction, to focus on the hope – the lasting good that comes from cross-cultural compassion, empathy and aid.

When Henri’s village is destroyed in battle, Billy is one of many Australian children who work together to help rebuild Villers-Bretonneux. To this day the sign of acknowledgment remains; DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA.

DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA is a must read for all Australians.

Lest we forget.   Continue reading