Author Yona Zeldis McDonough (website) wrote The Cats in the Doll Shop (my thoughts) which not only did I like, but my daughter (who is turning 7 today) liked as well. My daughter had some questions for Ms. McDonough and here is the best Author Q&A ever – that of a proud father.
A. Many years ago, my husband and used to watch the comings and goings of a stray, pregnant cat outside the back window of our apartment in NYC. The cat had her kittens in an unused dresser drawer that had been stowed on a terrace. When the owner discovered the kittens, she swept them off the terrace with a broom. Two died, and three survived; one of the survivors broke his leg in the fall. The broken limb atrophied and eventually fell off but the three legged kitten managed to get around anyway. We worried about how he would manage, and left food out for him. He became surprisingly agile for a three legged cat and we came to love him for his spirit and his resilience. He was the model for the cat in my story.
A.I thought it was a pretty, old-fashioned name, the kind of name a Jewish girl of that time and place would be likely to have. I try to put myself back in the historical moment in which I am writing, and look for the little details that make a book feel like it is really of that world.
A.Tania did not go by herself. She travelled with a friend of her mother’s. It was a long and difficult journey across the ocean. A little girl would not have undertaken it alone. But even though Tania went with her mother’s friend, she still missed her mother and wished they could be together. Many Jews left Eastern Europe at this time; they were desperate to escape the widespread persecution in their home countries.
A.The word “pluck” means: resourceful courage and daring in the face of difficulties; spirit. I thought those qualities described the little cat in my story perfectly. Anna recognizes the cat’s bravery and responds to it. That’s why she gives him that name.
- Book Review: The Cat in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough, and Heather Maione (Illustrator) (blogcritics.org)
- Goldstein’s McDonough commits to D-II Chestnut Hill (nypost.com)
- SharePoint Expert Sean P. McDonough to Speak at ‘SharePoint Saturday Vancouver’ (prweb.com)
- Nanny State madness of the day (michellemalkin.com)