Welcome to January's Meezer Musings! January seems to have flown by and as we reach the end of the month, I hope the year has been kind to you so far and wish you a happy 2023.
Our newsletter this month was inspired by two messages I received recently - each concerning children's books about Siamese cats. There's also some news from much-loved children's author and illustrator, Judy Schachner, and thoughts on childhood books and how much they still influence us, years after we've read them.
But first ...
Valentine's Day will soon be upon us, so let's start with this postcard from AmyLyn Bihrle. This beautiful image manages to reflect the bleakness of January, the promise of Spring and Valentine's Day all rolled into one! I hope you enjoy it. If you'd like to know more about the card or buy copies of it, you can find it here in AmyLyn's Zazzle store.
The very first book I read that featured a Siamese cat as a character was The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. The cat, called Tao, was joined by two dogs, young Labrador Retriever Luath and older Bodger, a Bull Terrier, in an adventure that takes them hundreds of miles across the Canadian wilderness.
I must have read the book when I was around ten and to this day (many, many years later!) I can still remember my fears for the three animals as each of them faced their own dangers, as well as the heart-in-the-mouth anxiety, as I neared the ending, that one or more of the animals might not make it home.
I remember it as if it were yesterday and any news of missing animals still evokes that fear. Books can have that effect.
So here's a question for you.
A reader in the UK contacted me to ask whether I knew of a children's book featuring two Siamese kittens called Ying and Kla.
Clare's mother had recently passed away, and a memory had surfaced of her mother reading this book to her as a child, but Clare couldn't remember the name of the book. It wasn't one that I knew personally, and a Google search wasn't helpful.
So here's a question for you - do you remember the book? Did you perhaps have it yourself as a child? Perhaps you have it still?
If so, do please get in touch through our Contact page and let me have any details you can remember - title, author, or story - and I will, of course, pass these on to Clare.
If the book's still in print, I'll add the details to my Siamese Cat Books for Kids page too.
Writing books isn't for the faint-hearted; finding a publisher for your work can be even more difficult. Many writers these days choose to self-publish, which is an easier route to getting your work out there but it means you don't have the resources of a big publishing house behind you to promote your books.
I was contacted by just such an author, Ariana B. Farina, thanking me for including her book series, Kitty Tales, on my Siamese Cat Books for Kids page.
It's always a delight to showcase any work by anyone who loves Siamese cats, so here's a further reminder of Ariana's books.
Ariana's books are aimed at kids learning to read, and Kitty Tales is currently a three-book series (plus a special Halloween edition) about Nerma, a black-and-white tuxedo cat, and her baby brother Blueberry, a shy chocolate point Siamese with extra toes, who joins Nerma towards the end of Book One.
Each book is delightfully illustrated and contains three 'chapters' - short stories about the cats. They'd make great gifts for youngsters, so if you're interested, you can find out more about them here on Amazon.
Speaking of delightfully-illustrated children's books ... here's some news about Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones series, as well as two of her other Siamese cat books.
It's always fun listening to authors reading their own work as it gives you a great feel for how the writer intends the book to sound, so I thought you might like know that a couple of years back, Judy recorded all of her Skippyjon Jones books for SoundCloud. It's a great way of catching up with any of the books you might have missed!
The recording of the first book in the series, the original Skippyjon Jones, can be found here. And there's a list of all eight books (as well as some of her others), with links to each recording, on Judy's SoundCloud page, where you can listen to all eight recordings back to back - no registration or payment required.
After being out of print for some time, two of Judy's other Siamese cat books for kids, the much-loved Grannyman and its follow-up, Bits & Pieces, both originally published in hardback, have recently been released in paperback editions by Purple House Press.
Further details are available on the Purple House Press website. You can find The Grannyman here and Bits & Pieces here.
With Valentine's Day not far off, here's a reminder of our dedicated Valentine's Day page, featuring Siamese cats in all their glory. Head on over to the page to see how Siamese cats are celebrating and celebrated!
The beautiful card below is just one example from Suzanne Le Good, currently available on Etsy.
I may have said this before, but January isn't my favorite month. Here in the UK the weather is usually dull, gray, and wet; this year we've had some extremely cold days too.
I'm always pleased when February comes along! The darkest months are behind us and there are glimpses of Spring, with the days gradually getting longer and much to look forward to.
I'll be back at the end of February and meanwhile, have a safe and successful month and let's hope that 2023 brings all of us health, happiness, and love. Happy reading! And, when it comes along, have a very happy Valentine's Day too.
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