Patricia was a lot of fun to interview because of her passion. It’s a really cute book for youngsters, she sent me a copy.
Interactive book shares story about a tuxedo cat
Published March 1, 2014 in SanTan Sun News
Youngsters have the opportunity to learn about a tuxedo cat through an interactive book of song and illustrations created by a Sun Lakes resident.
Patricia Koepp, a retired elementary art teacher of 29 years, has released “Mr. Mittens’ Magical Mittens: Listen, Read and Sing Along,” through Tate Publishing. The author, illustrator, editor and layout designer will have a big launch for her interactive book in June.
“I have located a little plush cat that looks like Mr. Mittens in the book,” she explains. “They are being delivered to me in June.”
A longtime animal lover, Koepp is a volunteer for the Arizona Welfare League and Humane Society.
“All my cats that I have adopted have been rescued cats,” Koepp says.
She adopted her first cat, which lived to be 18, while she was in college. Another cat became a part of her family for 16 years before it, too, died. Now she has a 22-pound solid black male and a 16-pound female tuxedo cat who are brother and sister. These siblings helped inspire her book.
“Mr. Mittens is a combination of the two,” Koepp explains. The character takes the personality of her male cat and the body type of the female.
The song that tells the tale of Mr. Mittens came to Koepp as she was brushing her cats on their pedestal in the kitchen.
“I sing to the cats as I was brushing them,” she explains.
She jotted down the lyrics as the words flowed. That encouraged her to go to the store and buy a miniature keyboard. Although she cannot read music, Koepp researched which keys correlated to what letters on the scale.
“I hammered out the song on the keyboard,” she says.
The book, which is geared toward youngsters ages 4 and older, includes 18 pages of illustrations and songs, a coloring section and sheet music.
“Each page is a verse of the song and the next page is an illustration of that verse,” she explains.
The first verse describes Mr. Mittens. It is followed by a black and white versions of the illustrations so kids can color them. The final section includes sheet music and a CD of the music. Koepp says the music was orchestrated by a friend of hers using two female voices—a woman who majored in voice and piano in college and a young girl, a friend’s relative.
“The song itself is a chorus singing about the cat. The cat responds to the chorus in the next verse,” she explains.
Adults can either read the book with the youngster or sing along with the CD.
“I’ve had really good feedback from people in town here,” Koepp says.
After another song struck Koepp, her second book “Mr. Mittens’ Dreams Come True” was born. She says the book will be available this summer.
Her second book, which again is told through song, shares the story of Mr. Mittens being adopted into a family from an animal sanctuary. While at the sanctuary he meets another animal that he sings with, which is later revealed to be dog. The duo, who end up being adopted by the same family, share the story of how everyone dreams.
Her artistic journey
A self-described hyperactive child in school, Koepp discovered that drawing cartoons and doodling kept her in her seat.
“My idol when I was growing up was Walt Disney,” she explains. “It was always a dream of mine to be an illustrator and cartoonist.”
When she attended college, she went after a double major, English and art education. Upon graduation, she stumbled upon a job, an art position in Phoenix.
“I decided I would rather teach art than English,” Koepp says. “I loved my profession. It was a lot of fun.”
She says with an overactive imagination, she is able to express herself through her artwork and share it with other people.
“I have always envied musicians who can play a guitar and take their craft wherever they go and share that with the people they are with,” Koepp says.
With a published book, she can share her craft with friends and people she has never met.
“All through my life I had been writing stories and drawing,” she says.
The book, CD and plush kitten can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling (480) 883-0662 or visiting www.tatepublishing. com.
Individuals can also purchase other Mr. Kitten’s merchandise at www.cafepress.com/mrmittenskittenkaboodle.