Guest reader, Michael Farhang:
Teaching the children:
Making the cat sculptures:
A few completed cat sculptures:
Saturday, October 28, 2006
City Critters, a New York City animal rescue organization, brought some beautiful cats and dogs to the opening and closing receptions for The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside at CVB Space. Dave and Diane adopted cats, Cindy (aka Sydney) and Yuki, and Donna plans to adopt a sweet, and very agile, 3-legged cat named Oliver. Russell and I even took home a dog! We named her Poodley after my favorite childhood stuffed animal. She looks like a cat when viewed from behind although she is tinier than most kitties. Check out the City Critters website to see all of the cats and dogs, rescued from the streets of New York City, who are in need of loving homes. Also, you'll be glad to know that when you buy The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside a portion of my royalties, for each book sold, will be donated to City Critters.
The Museum of American Illustration and The Society of Illustrators have chosen The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside 3-d dollhouse set to appear in their juried Third Biennial Dimensional Salon exhibit and catalog. In addition to this exhibit, von Buhler will be displaying some of the cat sculptures in their Member's Gallery. The mission of the Society is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration, as well as its history and evolving nature, and to encourage high ideals through exhibitions, lectures, education, and by fostering a sense of community and open discussion. The Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators maintains a large collection of original illustrations. Amassed over several decades, the collection is comprised of well over two thousand works by many of the biggest names in the field of Illustration. These works are on display throughout the public and member spaces in the Society’s circa 1853 carriage house on East 63rd Street. See the Cat Book Tour blog page for more information on this and all exhibits and signings.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
"This cumulative story, told by a redheaded, doll-like figure, features a stray feline outside a house on a cold wintry day. The woman asks the cat to come inside, but he runs away. The following day, she puts out a bowl of warm milk; the critter laps it up and leaves. Next, she leaves him a bowl of milk and a plate of tuna, but he still refuses to come in. Each day, she leaves more gifts, until the front porch is as comfortable as the inside and the cat invites the woman to come out. The simple text is enhanced dramatically by the three-dimensional-looking illustrations, which are wonderfully detailed photographs of a dollhouse and clay characters. The photos are set against parchment-colored backdrops and framed by scroll borders, giving the pages a cozy, old-fashioned look. While the tale will be fun to share, the photographs are a delight to pore over individually. Endpapers complete with claw scratches round out a package that should please everyone from cat lovers to miniature enthusiasts". –by Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA, School Library Journal
"In this cumulative story, a patient girl tries to lure a stray cat inside her cozy home, by leaving enticements outside her front door. Each day she ups the ante, until eventually she’s converted her porch into a perfectly comfortable home for her and the cat. (The author’s note reveals that Olympus the cat didn’t come inside her own home for four years.) The story is illustrated with original dioramas that the author’s family contributed to in significant ways". -by Carolyn Rogalsky, Parent and Child, Teacher's Picks, Best of 2006
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Here, kitty kitty
Review by Alice Cary, Bookpage
The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside is a unique, quirky and delightful book. Most notable are the illustrations by artist and author Cynthia von Buhler. Each spread features a diorama with a dollhouse and two characters, a cat and a woman, made of Sculpey clay, paint and homemade costumes. (For a sneak peek, check out the author's website at www.comeinsidekitty.com .)
The story is a simple, cumulative tale. A cat appears on a woman's doorstep and refuses to come inside—running away, despite coaxing. The woman keeps trying to lure the cat inside with various temptations: milk, tuna, a catnip mouse, a soft rug, a ball of yarn, etc. The cat enjoys each of these things, but keeps leaving.
The woman is so determined that she builds a wall and a fireplace on her porch and furnishes it with an armchair, curtains, knitting needles and more. In the end, the area is so cozy and the cat is so at home that he finally invites the woman to come inside his place.
If you crave detail and intricacy (and I do!), you'll love looking at the many fine details in each scene, including candelabras and lit candles, fine china, books, wallpaper and luxurious rugs. The season is winter, and the snow is made, according to von Buhler, from five different types of artificial snow, including spray snow and cotton batting. What's more, she created falling snow with the help of Photoshop and her computer.
The publisher bills this as a book for preschoolers, but I recommend it for all ages. In fact, I think older children are more likely to relish the fine artwork and realize the great efforts required to create it.
Von Buhler adds a note at the end about the real-life inspiration for her story—a stray cat that appeared on her own doorstep and did not come inside her house for four years. Finally, though, the poor cat became ill, only to come inside and die in her arms one night. This is certainly a sad footnote, but the book itself is anything but gloomy. Young children will love this simple, welcoming story, and older children and adults alike will marvel at von Buhler's considerable artistic talents.
Alice Cary writes from Groton, Massachusetts.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
We had fun last Saturday at the CVB Space Workshop! As you can see below, moms and dads had as much fun as the kids. Check back soon for information on the next cat sculpting workshop in the New York City area. For those of you in Los Angeles area, scroll down to the "Upcoming Appearances" blog entry for a workshop that is occuring soon in your area. Thanks to Time Out NY Kids, Blogging Baby, Urban Baby, Time Out NY, Go City Kids and Cynstations for listing the event!