Interview with Jane Smith

It’s time for #ChatWithThePBLady! Today’s interview is with Jane Smith. We talked about her purrrfectly delightful book MISS MEOW.

📚What song should be the theme song of your life?

In the Middle by Jimmy Eat World

📚What’s your favorite indoor activity?

Reading, baking, playing Animal Crossing

📚What’s the best age you’ve lived through so far?

Ooo! Probably 25—it was an exciting time. It was the year I ran the LA Marathon, got married, traveled to Belize & Aruba and learned to surf, all while working in a public library as well as doing freelance illustration.

📚What word is the most fun to say?

Hootenanny!

📚 Let’s talk about MISS MEOW. Please tell us about the delightful main character of the story.

Miss Meow is a spirited, imaginative little girl who LOVES pretending to be a pet cat! She does ALL the things a pet cat does—naps in the sunshine, eats & drinks from bowls on the floor, plays with her toy mouse and prowls around her domain.

But when Miss Meow’s hackles are raised by an unexpected stray cat intruder, she is surprised to discover that sheathing her claws and sharing her territory is the purr-fect fix for both making a new feline friend and for making up with her little brother.

📚This book is full of social emotional learning. Can you tell us about some of the social emotional components of this book?

Absolutely! Although I must say that I did not begin writing with the intention of specifically tackling social emotional learning. More that is a happy byproduct of aiming to write about real, universal experiences in a child’s life. And what’s more universal than pretend play? Especially pretending to be animals…especially pets…especially CATS!

So yes, Miss Meow touches on a variety of social emotional learning concepts, including getting along with siblings, sharing, dealing with anger & frustration, taking care of pets, and the wonder & joy of imaginative play.

📚 I love the fun and vivid illustrations. How would you describe your illustration style? Was there a particular scene that you really enjoyed illustrating?

Thank you so much! I would describe my illustration style as “sticker book collage”! Even though, these days, I primarily create my artwork digitally, it is always with the mindset of a collage artist. I bring in a variety of hand-drawn line work, textures and colors, both found and created, into the computer and play with combining shapes and blocks of color. Sometimes I add a bit of digital paint, too. Mostly, I just love a flat, graphic look with carefully curated textures and patterns!

What I enjoyed illustrating most in MISS MEOW was Miss Meow herself! I had a such a fun time imagining her and bring her to life. And actually, the original character art is what came first with this book, even before the written story!

📚What makes this book such a fun read?

I think what makes MISS MEOW so much fun is the fast pace, the rollercoaster of Miss Meow’s emotions, and the mystery & discovery of the stray cat intruder! I’d like to think this is the kind of story that will be read again and again, because on each read, the audience can discover a new detail that illustrates how the story comes together—like the moment the stray can arrives or his hiding spot in Miss Meow’s bedroom!

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