Book Review: Inspector Dewey
My name is Dewey—Inspector Dewey.
I live in the big green house on Hampshire Avenue with my family: Thumper, Lily, and Anna. I am the Big Cat—responsible for keeping everyone safe and in order. I do this quite well, in spite of the fact that managing my family is like, well, herding cats!
Mostly our life is peaceful. But one night it wasn’t. That was the night the bad guy showed up on our block. Of course, I knew exactly how to outsmart the outlaw, but—miserable mullet!—would Anna and the police understand my instructions?
To find out how the adventure ended, you’ll have to read my book. But I’ll give you a hint: there’s a reason I’m called Inspector Dewey.
Fifty percent of the profits from the sale of this book will fund veterinary care for pets whose families are in financial need, so that the animals can remain in their homes and out of the shelter system.
My oldest son loves to read. As a small child he would stare at the pages of a book and let me choose board book after board book from his tiny library until the pile of books was as tall as he was. Every morning, from the time he was twenty-two months old until the time he turned three, he would climb into my bed and settle in to read three stories. When those three stories were finished he would scurry off my bed, choose three more, (with my assistance), and climb back on the bed. We could spend an hour reading together that way each morning.
I loved snuggly beside him. He awoke in those warm, footed pajamas with his hair all messy and disheveled. He would borrow his head into the crook of my arm and rest quietly against my chest. Back then we went to the library once a week, but never picked up books. He had a few favorites that he wanted to read day after day and showed no interest in adding new ones to the list.
These days he loves to read new library selections and is filled with over-the-moon excitement when we receive a book he can keep. Inspector Dewey is a gorgeous book. My words honestly cannot provide justice the beauty with which the cats and their owner Anna are depicted. There is a hazy, almost dream-filled way in which they are drawn.
My son loved the story about a crime solving cat. It’s told from Dewey’s perspective and Dewey is one smart creature with great telepathic powers that help Anna and the police figure out exactly what to do to catch a thief.
Our family recently lost our beloved cat of over fifteen years, so reading about Dewey and his family is a great way to remember our own cat and imagine all the thoughts he might have had if presented with a similar situation.
Marketing Officer, Strategy Expert, Innovator and Brand Builder, Kristen’s business career spans 20+ years serving the biggest brands in industry and the biggest hearts of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Kristen revels in bringing compelling products and services to life and helping leaders and individuals with big dreams realize their big goals.Kristen’s life joys include her 2+ year obsession creating the most beautiful self-published picture book possible, the breathtaking forests and lakes of her Minnesota birthplace, the family that really does love her no matter what, and her three magnificent Norwegian Forest Cats who together, with Kristen, helped catch the bad guy on their block that inspired her upcoming book (stake out and high speed chase included!)
She holds a master of science in eCommerce from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and a BA from the University of St. Thomas. As the great transformer in her life, Kristen supports others’ education and literacy as an adjunct professor of business and strategy and, more recently, through her children’s book, Inspector Dewey (Available September 2015).
What genre do you write and why?
Picture books played an important role in my development as a child. They still influence me today. I collect them by the dozens, reading them as others read novels. I can’t imagine creating anything other than picture books—I love the marriage of words and visuals too much.
I am inspired by experiences—beautiful, emotion-packed, multisensory experiences. These are the things that memories are made of. And no book imparts a 360-degree sensory experience for me more so than the picture book choicefully designed to be read aloud by parent to child—with cherry-picked words, cadence, rhyming, alliteration and, of course, illustrations, those masterful swoops of the brush that add texture and beauty to the story, bringing it to life.
What are you working on now?
Right now, Lily’s silliness and certainty have taken hold of my heart. She’s a kind-hearted kitty who earnestly believes that she is the center of the universe. Her life isn’t too shabby—everyone should have days as delicious as Lily’s! So I started writing short little ditties about the silly, Lily-centered things she does to pass her time. I would love for these to turn into a picture book for young readers. However, I realize, as her human, I may be a little bit biased about her adorableness. Thank goodness my editor is a genius with a gentle touch—she’ll set me straight!
I’m also documenting my book journey online for Children’s Writer’s Guild (childrenswritersguild.com). It’s a monthly series that kicked off in July 2015 entitled “Trailing Joy.” I named it that because it was my emotions, and only my emotions, that propelled me to pursue the absolutely glorious, but highly impractical and unpredictable, journey of book creation.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or paper/hard back books?
A traditionalist, I refused to welcome the e-book into my life for a long time. Then the desire for immediacy got the best of me. When that first e-book graced my device the instant I pressed “go,” I was hooked. To this day, I’m an e-book buyer, albeit selectively. Speed, travel convenience, variety, and cost—e-books have advantages on all of these fronts. But the fact is, I prefer real books—the kind I can touch, smell, and feel their heft in my hand and their comfort on my pillow. My favorites grace the bookshelves in my home. They remind me where I’ve been, what I am thankful for, and what I dream for the future.
What is your favorite travel spot?
My favorite travel spot is the place I have not yet visited! I love to travel. My parents were responsible for instilling wanderlust in me at a very young age: I was hooked after my first trip abroad. I’ve been traveling ever since. I love exploring diverse cultures—the more different from my own, the better. People, history, architecture, food culture, and, well . . . experiencing and learning anything new excites me. Right now, I feel strongly that I need to get to India. But I’m not terribly picky. I’m all smiles anytime I can pack a bag, grab some Pearson’s Salted Nut Bars, and jump in my car on a road trip with family or friends. Anywhere will do—especially if there are homespun diners, antique shops, and historical markers along the way.
What is your favorite positive saying?
Ooh, tough. I believe fundamentally in the power of one’s environment to help or hinder one’s growth. To the best that I am able, I create a beautiful, supportive environment around me so that I can be my best. Practically, this means a clean house, fresh flowers when I feel like it, and a tidy to-do list. It also means being willing to let go of naysayers and soul-sappers, and the courage to walk away from harmful cultures—work or otherwise.
When it comes to positive sayings, I don’t think I could choose just one. I have hundreds, even thousands of sayings and quotes that I love. I collect them from books, online, and my own inspirations. I pin at least one or two each day on Pinterest as a reminder to me that, in life, it’s all mind over matter. Thoughts are things. I collect the good ones to keep the negative ones at bay.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I spent a good portion of my early life trying to do and be what was expected of me or believed to be in my best interests—by my family, my friends, our society, and culture. My advice to my younger self would be quite simply: Trust yourself. That inner voice of yours is divine. Follow it, and you will discover your dreams and live the life you were meant to live.
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