A Spunky Orange Tabby Cat Stakes His Claim on the Children’s Picture Book World

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A spunky orange tabby cat launches an investigation of the feline kind when a large, wooden, square object blocks the only exit to his favorite room. The new children's picture book is written by Erie, PA author Corinne Davis and Philadelphia, PA illustrator, Maria Sansone. It is published by MightyBook, Inc., an imprint of Booksurge Publishing.

A spunky orange tabby cat, in a brief moment of silence, sits unassumingly atop the back of the sofa, licking his little white paws. Out of no where comes a large, wooden, square object that blocks the room's only exit. Immediately, an investigation of the feline kind begins. First there is a curious interest, followed by a careful inquisition of the belly-creeping kind, and finally a quick sniff before taking a step backwards then forward again to get another quick sniff.

You have just met Fred.

While you sit and look admirably at the brilliant illustrations, the preschooler in your life giggles and grins in anticipation of what will happen next. To you it seems predictable, but to the wide-eyed toddler sitting next to you, Fred's somewhat foreseeable nature is part of his charm.

Born not of the imagination, but out of surveillance, "Fred the Cat" follows the author's real-life cat, Freddie on his zany adventures which keep the whole family watching and wondering what will come next.

"He is quite a little entertainer," says Erie, Pennsylvania native and author Corinne Davis. "He comes up with the wildest and wackiest games to play that keep us entertained for hours. Sometimes I think he believes he's a circus animal."

Davis has taken what she believes to be the most humorous things Fred has done and turned them into a series of picture books for preschool aged children, the first of which is due out this spring. She has collaborated on this project with her cousin, Maria Sansone, a recent graduate of Penn State University. "Maria has perfectly captured Fred in all of his glory, journeying through his daily activities, keeping everyone in smiles," says Davis of Sansone.

The pair has long dreamed of getting together on a project like this. Sansone reminisces, "When we were kids, we used to write little plays and act them out for our family on holidays. We used to make big plans for our futures that always involved doing something creative or with animals."

The dream has come finally come full circle. After several re-writes, months of sketching, and even more months in search of a publisher, "Fred the Cat" is ready for his debut.

Davis' introductory story of Fred is a lighthearted comedy that follows him on his discovery of the baby gate and how much fun it is to leap in the air over it. "When we first installed a gate between our family room and our kitchen, Fred was strangely fascinated. He sat on the kitchen floor staring at the gate for quite some time, then suddenly out of nowhere, catapulted himself straight up in the air and over the gate from a seated and perfectly still position. It was so random, which made it even funnier."

Sansone's lively illustrations make the tale all the more enjoyable. "The story is playful and fun, so we wanted the illustrations to be that way too. We wanted them to be simple but vibrant."

Test audiences of the under-four-feet-tall kind agree. Davis' 20-month-old daughter Olivia recognizes her cat in all of the illustrations. "Fred!" she exclaims as her mother reads to her from the book. "She really enjoys it, and finds it especially amusing that she knows everyone in the book."

The pair have also come together to create a website, located at http://www.fred-the-cat.com, in promotion of their book.

So what does the future hold for "Fred"? "Right now," says Sansone, "I'm working on illustrations for our next book in the series. It's a long process to get everything just right so I like to give myself plenty of time."

The second in the series, unofficially titled, "Fred the Cat: Fred's Beginning" follows Fred on his journey to find the just-right family to live with. Davis comments, "I like to look at things through Fred's point of view. I don't think we chose Fred. He definitely picked us for a reason."

The reason seems apparent.

"Fred the Cat", ISBN 1-4196-0492-9, is published by MightyBook, Inc., an imprint of Booksurge Publishing and is currently available for sale on http://www.booksurge.com. "Fred" will be available on Amazon.com later this spring and in bookstores nationwide this summer.

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