Book Review – Find Cranky Cat: Search Fun For Cat Lovers
If you are looking for a cat book that combines Search and Find fun with little boosts of happiness or the PURRRfect gift for cat lovers of all ages, then this book is for you! Cranky Cat hides in each of the 10 beautiful illustrations. If you have found it, you’ll want to find it all over again. But be aware, this undertaking gets more and more compliCATed. The book is rounded up with short feel-good quotes about the love for our furry feline friends, making it a book to CATch and treasure.
This Review is Dedicated To Toby
I have always been a dog lover and still am, however, when I met Toby, I fell in love. This tiny little furball quickly became more than just a cat, he became family. Not only are cats of remarkably loving creatures, but they are also smart and empathetic. Toby was my sister’s cat, but I felt that I had become his second mother. Toby was always kind and loving and always was happy to see me. He was a life long companion to my sister and was the sweetest cat I had ever met. Sadly, after almost 22 years of life (120 in cat years), he passed away. Toby lived a long beautiful life and was very loved by all. Toby, you will always be loved, never forgotten, and will be forever missed.
“To make heaven the perfect resting place for loved ones we adore, God made sure those pearly gates contained a kitty door.”
“Find Cranky Cat!” by Jana Broecker is the PERRRfect book for cat lovers of all ages, and we are not Kitten around! Cranky Cat is a fun-filled activity book of search and find pages with a collection of the PERRRfect cat quotes to describe your feline friends. One Cranky Cat hides in each of Purrty illustrated pages of this book. Readers have fun searching for the cranky cat in each of these fun-filled pages. As you progress through the book, each of the activities gets harder and harder. This is a great activity book to do alongside your children or on your own, when you need some time to decompress from a long day. This book is sure to provide hours of creative entertainment for any cat enthusiast and is excellent for those long road trips and rainy days. I am Furreal when I say that his activity book is a must!
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About the Author, Jana Broecker
Jana Broecker is a geeky scientist (with a Phd in and a love for Biophysics), an indie author, a sushi addict, and a mum of two. She is originally from Germany, has been living in three countries and two continents, throws the longest birthday party EVERY year (as does her twin), and has the best new ideas when driving a car (on either side of the road). She and her partner share their home in Cambridge, UK with two marvelous boys and an impressive collection of craft supplies and kids’ books.
Rapid Fire with Jana Broecker
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Jana: I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. However, I’ve for sure always been a book worm and nowadays, with kids, I read up to 5 picture books a day to my boys. As a person, I am very creative and literally overflow with ideas, and on top of that, I love numbers and patterns. This may sound crazy now, but at one point, I simply happened to “see” patterns” in the books I read to my kids. When I said to my partner, “I could write like that.”, he just shook his head and replied, “Nah, you couldn’t…”. Did I mention, I’m very competitive, as well? Of course, I had to prove him wrong. So, I wrote my first story (will be my fifth book, to be published in Spring 2020), and the boys and their friends just loved it…. That’s how it all started. And I enjoyed the process so much, I couldn’t stop… By the way, my partner is my biggest fan now.
Q. What was the most surprising thing you learned about creating books?
Jana: I was amazed at how many skill sets must be mastered as a self-publishing author to finish one high-quality book. Writing it is almost the easiest part, as it comes naturally to us authors. However, illustrating a book, designing an appealing and meaningful cover, and setting the layout for the book are challenging, too. And who knew that marketing will eat up so much of my time? It’s still fun, though, and the learning curve is steep: While it took me about 3 years to publish the first book (to be fair, I was also moving overseas at that point), I am about to bring out 4 more books until the end of this year. Yay and Hooray!
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Jana: Every good story has four components: interesting characters, a thought-provoking or mesmerizing plot, a solid conflict, and a satisfying resolution. Ideally, this is all topped up with an original setting and a smart plot twist that wasn’t predictable even by the most experienced reader of that genre.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Jana: There are sparks for good stories everywhere. Once you caught one, let it float around in your head, stay open-minded, and let it blossom into different, unexpected directions. Over a couple of days, you’ll come up with an amazing story. At least this is how it works for me.
Q. What do you love most about the writing process?
Jana: I love most about the writing process how you can create a totally new world, bring characters to live, and let them suffer and grow during their journey; and all this with just a handful of words. Did you know that the word count for a picture book is typically 500 words? That is not a lot, is it?! Still, outstanding picture books whisk us away into an adventure we will never forget. I’m thinking of books like ‘The Gruffalo,’ ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt,’ or ‘Lost And Found.’ Before writing picture books, I wrote 50-word stories, and it just blew my mind how you can tell a fun and/or gripping story with ONLY 50 words. In comparison to that, 500 words seem plentiful…
8. Tell us about your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jana: To be honest, my ‘Find Cranky Cat’ book was supposed to be a test book: I enjoyed playing around with cat doodles and, at the same time, used them to learn about the various software you need to make illustrations, set the layout of a book, design advertisement artworks, or make a book-trailer, etc. However, my family and friends absolutely loved the book and encouraged me to publish it. Therefore, I am using it to test the waters, so to say, and to learn about self-publishing, running promotions, and marketing a book. My heart, though, lies in the picture books I’m writing (see below). Since I need to involve professional illustrators for these, it will probably take another 6 months until the first book will be out. In the meantime, I keep myself busy with concept and pattern books, like ‘Find Cranky Cat,’ which aren’t as complex to illustrate as a picture book and which I absolutely enjoy developing and designing.
Q. What type of books do you write?
Jana: In general, I write books for kids in the age range of my own kids, so basically for ages 2–8. There are two types of books that I’m writing. First, I enjoy designing concepts books, which are usually interactive books that focus on a specific idea or topic (such as shapes, emotions, animals, etc.). In my ‘Find Cranky Cat!’ book, for instance, the reader is prompted to scan beautifully illustrated cat doodles with loads of smiling cats to find the one grumpy cat. To recognize and properly read facial expressions is a very important skill for kids to have. Also, it’s amazing how many kids tend to challenge and beat (!) their parents to find Cranky Cat first. It absolutely boosts their confidence. As a side note, I illustrate these concept books myself.
Second, I am also writing traditional picture books with strong messages for bold kids. For instance, one book is about improving communication between parents and kids as well as about the empathy between siblings, another book has a strong female lead character that challenges gender stereotypes, a third book is about a boy exploring ways to spend more quality time with his dad, and a fourth book deals with self-love and accepting your own weird-lovely personality. For these picture books, I am working with professional illustrators, as on the one hand, character design and development are beyond my illustration skills. On the other hand, I simply don’t want to spend 6 months illustrating just one book, while I’m bursting with new ideas. I’m currently looking for an illustrator for the first picture book and will publish it at the beginning of next year.
Q. What does your creative process look like?
Jana: Luckily, I never have to work hard to have an idea. They literally hit me every now and then. I noticed that this is particularly the case, when I allow my mind to travel off, for instance, when I’m driving the car (oops), sitting on a swing, or am falling asleep. I carefully nurture that little spark in my head by asking myself: Into which direction can I develop this? What’s the motivation of my character? How can I let the heroes suffer more (and more, and even more) to help them to grow eventually? After quite a long time—this could be up to months—I write the story down. This already tells you: I’m a “story plotter” … Then, I reduce the word count and make sure the story is as kids-friendly, fast-paced, active, funny (if appropriate), snappy, and simply beautiful to read.
Q. Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding moments you have had as an author?
Jana: I had tears in my eyes, when both, my eldest son as well as my colleague’s daughter decided to go as Cranky Cat on World Book Day this year.
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Jana: My next book ‘Not Like The Others’ will be out in Summer this year and will be accompanied by a ‘Coloring Book’ and an ‘Activity Book.’ I hope to finish the assembly of these three books within the next 2 weeks and will then need another 2 weeks for launching them.
Here is from the blurb: Which fox has a tail that is fluffier than fluffy? Where is the brown bear that got stung by an angry bee? And can you spot the woodpecker that has caught a fat, wiggly worm? Over 250 forest animals fill the pages of this beautifully illustrated book. Little eyes will be very eager to spot one animal among a group of animals that is not like the others and will learn an important message about themselves at the end of the story. If you like books such as “The Odd One Out” by Britta Teckentrupp, “Where’s Waldo” by Martin Handford, “I Spy” by Jean Marzello, or “Wacky Wednesday” by Dr. Seuss, then you will LOVE this book.
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All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
*This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Jana Broecker in exchange for an honest review.