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Entertainment & Arts

‘The Amazing Crafty Cat’ tries to kill you with cuteness by combining a second-grader and a cat suit

‘The Amazing Crafty Cat’
The cover for “The Amazing Crafty Cat” by Charise Mericle Harper.
(Charise Mericle Harper / First Second Books)

Even the toughest adult is no match for Crafty Cat’s disarming cuteness. In fact, if she weren’t a character in a book full of crafts, she would be highly suspect: What sort of evil intentions could she be hiding behind that adorable exterior? 

Luckily, “The Amazing Crafty Cat” is indeed a genuinely sweet book about a second-grader finding an imaginative way to face this confusing world.

School can be a bit intimidating for Birdie. But she has a secret weapon — her alter ego Crafty Cat helps her out of any difficult situations, proving to young readers that being creative is one hefty superpower. 

Hero Complex has the exclusive first look at Charise Mericle Harper’s new graphic novel, "The Amazing Crafty Cat." The first in a planned trilogy geared for elementary-school-age readers, "Crafty Cat" will follow Birdie as she crafts her way out of various jams under her alias.  

"I’m shy by nature, so I think I identify with Birdie," Harper said in an email. "I remember my school years fondly, but they were filled with anxiety too. Kids are creative, so there is no preparing yourself for the myriad of ways they can be cruel or challenging."

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"There aren’t a lot of options when you’re in school, you can’t just leave and run home in the middle of the day if someone has upset you. You have to stay there and stick it out. So what’s the fantasy?  A super alter-ego to save you. That’s Crafty Cat -- she’s confident, driven and impervious. She exists to help Birdie," Harper said. 

The "Just Grace" and "Fashion Kitty" author also shared how the concept of the book came about. 

"I’ve always liked making things and I happen to like both the word crafty and domestic cats," she said. 

The cover for Cherise Mericle Harper's
The cover for Cherise Mericle Harper's "The Amazing Crafty Cat." (Charise Mericle Harper / First Second Books)

"I have always been an avid crafter," Harper said. "Every birthday card I made as a child was hand drawn and designed. My parents instilled this love of handmade objects."

Harper explained that this childhood love of making things has stayed with her. 

"I still like making things, and when I have the time, I get busy," she said. "I sew strange plush characters, I make monster puppets out of cardboard and wire, and I recently sculpted some characters that I hope to put into a book. I always make handmade gifts for special friends.  That’s because of my mom -- that’s how to fill a present with love."

Each "Crafty Cat" volume will include fun and simple instructions for do-it-yourself crafting activities. "The Amazing Crafty Cat" is set to be released April 11, 2017 from First Second Books

Check out how Birdie transforms into Crafty Cat in the preview pages below.

(Charise Mericle Harper / First Second Books)
(Charise Mericle Harper / First Second Books)
(Charise Mericle Harper / First Second Books)

tracy.brown@latimes.com

 

Twitter: @tracycbrown


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