On a cold winter day a cat appears on the porch of an old Victorian house.
The girl who lives there feels sorry for the snow-covered creature and gives him warm milk.
The next day she gives him tuna, and the next day a catnip mouse, and so on and so on, until eventually the porch is as cozy as the house. One day, much to her surprise, the cat finally answers her invitation inside with an invitation to her. The "house-that-Jack-built" structure and repetition of this story will appeal to young readers, who will also delight in following the construction of the cat's new home.
This tale of friendship and trust, of patience and love, is based on a true story. While living in Boston, in a large purple Victorian house, Cynthia von Buhler befriended a stray cat, whom she named Olympus, after the Greek mountain. She repeatedly invited him inside, but he wouldn't budge from the porch. So she went to the mountain, so to speak, and over the course of four years, fed him, nursed him, and built him his own (heated) purple and green house. Saving Olympus and creating the book based on him was a family affair von Buhler's father adapted her childhood dollhouse (which he had built by hand), her mother sewed the curtains, and her sister, a fashion designer, created the clothing. Von Buhler created all the characters using Sculpey clay. They were baked in an oven until hardened, then decorated with paint. She created a 3-D set, and everything was then photographed with a Haselblad camera using a variety of lenses and colored gel filters, creating a fantastical world of cottony snow, comfortable chairs, and hidden delights.
Committed to reaching out to her audience in nontraditional ways, von Buhler has created an art exhibit based on the sculptures and sets used for the book. It also incorporates a children's cat sculpture workshop. The exhibit opens at CVB Space in Manhattan on September 28, and will then tour children's museums nationwide. For more information, please visit www.comeinsidekitty.com
, which includes step-by-step "make a kitty" instructions, a feature on how the house and set were created, an author's blog, and more. Von Buhler is also currently producing a Flash viral video, set to her original music (including her own vocals), which will feature the book's characters and set.