Today we are chatting with David LaRochelle, author of
See The Dog: Three Stories About A Cat!
Read on for more about David, his book, and giveaway!
Meet David LaRochelle!
David LaRochelle is the author of many books for young readers, including Isle of You, illustrated by Jaime Kim, How to Apologize, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, and the Theodor Seuss Geisel award winner See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog, also illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. See David LaRochelle in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Meet See The Dog: Three Stories About A Cat!
What happens when a cat tries to be a dog? With this second wry primer, the creators of See the Cat return to demonstrate that standing in for a friend can be trickier than expected.
The dog is sick today, but have no fear—the cat is happy to take his place! But when the book (who is very bossy) tells her to dig a hole, the dirt-averse cat finds a way to accomplish the task while keeping her fur pristine. And when the book demands that she fetch a stick (in the water!) or guard a sheep (from a wolf!), the cat responds in very un-doglike ways. Can the book and the cat reach a happy ending? With simple, repetitive phrases and tongue-in-cheek humor, this spoof on a classic early reader pits a well-meaning but slightly dramatic cat against a highly persistent book in a comical battle of wits that will have kids yowling.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’m not a big fan of sequels, so when our publisher asked for a follow-up book to See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog, I was hesitant. I’m always worried that a sequel will be a rehash of the first story only slightly warmed over. Then my illustrator, Mike Wohnoutka, told me, “David, I even have the title for the next book, See the Dog: Three Stories About a Cat.” The moment he said that, an idea flashed into my mind about how to approach the theme in a new way, this time with Baby Cakes as the star. Thank you, Mike, for the spark of inspiration!
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Who else but Baby Cakes? Most of my stories are plot driven, but Baby Cakes the cat is such a flamboyant character, it was her dramatic personality that drove the story. Even though she only has a small appearance in the first book, the expressive way that Mike drew her spoke volumes about her personality, and it was clear to me how she would act in any given situation.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I’m proud of any scene that can make kids laugh, and I think kids will chuckle when they discover that the lake Baby Cakes is afraid to swim across is not much bigger than a puddle.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but after my first book was published, I thought I knew everything about writing. Taking classes was for people who hadn’t had a book published, or so I thought. It took me almost ten years before I wised up, began taking classes, and joined a critique group. That’s when my writing and productivity really began to improve. Learning to be a better writer is a lifetime process. I just wish I would have learned this lesson years earlier!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love how this cover is such a nice companion to the first book, See the Cat. It’s clear that the two books are part of a set, but the way that Mike has drawn Max and Baby Cakes, you know that the two characters are going to be completely different. Max the dog is a curmudgeon and just wants to be left alone so he can take a nap. Baby Cakes, on the other hand, is exuberant and eager to be the star of her own story. Mike was able to convey all these emotions through his simple, but expressive, gouache paintings.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2021?
All Thirteen: The Incredible Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat. Even though it had won just about every possible award last year, I was hesitant to read it, fearing that it might be too thrilling and I’d end up with claustrophobic nightmares! But Soontornvat managed to tell this exciting story with just the right amount of suspense, while at the same time including fascinating information about diving, cave formation, and Thai culture without ever bogging down the pace of the story. A masterful feat of storytelling, and a gripping real-life tale.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Mike and I have two new books in the works. I never thought I would write a sequel, but Mike is currently finishing up the final artwork for the third (and I’m predicting final) book in the series, See the Ghost: Three Stories About Things You Cannot See, which is scheduled to come out in 2023. We also have a new unrelated picture book coming out a year or so after that.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I’m very, very good at pretending. Whether with plastic toys, puppets, or imaginary friends, it’s a natural step for me to enter the world of make-believe. That’s probably an asset for a children’s book writer.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
UNICEF is my favorite charity; every child deserves to have a happy, healthy childhood. I also feel strongly about environmental issues. It worries me how our actions as human beings are negatively impacting the natural world. We owe it to future generations to take good care of our planet.
See The Dog: Three Stories About A Cat
Author: David LaRochelle
Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publish Date: September 14th, 2021
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