At my first grade parent/teacher conference, the teacher told my parents it was good that I liked to sing and dance because I would never do well in academics. What the heck did I ever do to that teacher? A harsh critique for a six year-old, even if I was struggling with a learning disability. Don’t worry, my parents stood up for me. Perhaps though I should thank my first grade teacher. It was her and all the kids who made fun of me while I struggled to learn to read, who motivated me to work hard, overcome dyslexia, and get straight ‘A’s’ by the end of fourth grade. All throughout my school years I was a hard working student. A kid with dyslexia can do well in school or as in the case of, Phaea Crede, be an author.
I was so excited to learn about Phaea Crede, and her debut picture book, JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT), because I could so relate to her story and the inspiration for her picture book. Crede had a third grade teacher make her feel like she couldn’t become a writer because of her learning disability. For years she worried that ‘real writers don’t have dyslexia,’ which eventually evolved into the main character of her picture book, Jet, being told ‘real cats can’t stand water.’
JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) will debut May 1st, 2021. The book tells the story of Jet, who is like any other cat, except she LOVES to swim. Jet is surprised though when another cat informs her that ‘real cats can’t stand water,’ and since she likes water, she must not be a cat. Thus beginning Jet’s hilarious journey to find out what she really is. All will enjoy, and maybe even recognize from their lives, the well-meaning but obviously misguided animals Jet takes advice from along the way. The surprising resolve to JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) is so deliciously satisfying. In a bright, silly way all kids will love, it gives such a truthful prospective on the battle, I believe we all face, to be true to ourselves and not identity norms.
Crede, not only a picture book author, is a television writer with a background in sketch comedy writing. Therefore, it is no surprise to me that this book is laugh-out-loud funny for kids and also for adults. There were more than a few times I let out some good belly laughs. Hey, us adults deserve to enjoy what we are reading to our kids too! Terry Runyan’s quirky and colorful illustrations compliment the humor of this story brilliantly.
We don’t all grow up with dyslexia, but I do think we have all at some time felt like a part of us didn’t quite fit in. Especially now for kids, when many are schooling from home due to Covid-19, and may only see their friends through their fabricated realities on social media. Thankfully, JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) will leave your kids so happily inspired to embrace and not hide what makes them wonderfully unique.
JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) is available on pre-sale now (just click the link)! And like I mentioned in my previous article, 12 Delightful Picture Books Debuting in 2021, buy it now and forget about it. Then in a few weeks when it shows up at your door step you’ll be delightfully surprised by the gift you gave to your kids and yourself.
I hope you check out JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) and other great picture books debuting this year. Also, please share in the comments with our KID CONTENT NOW readers if you know any other great picture books that inspire embracing uniqueness and defining your own identity.