Local author Janice Falk is the creator of Mango and the Square Green Cat (Favortwou), an illustrated book for cat lovers, or for kids, or for kids who love cats. But Mango, it seems, goes beyond literary endeavor into the territory of pretty cool marketing ploy.
First things first. Mango (illustrated buy Christine Patete) is a precocious fluffy orange (hence the name: he shares his coloring with the tropical fruit) cat. He’s a less sarcastic Garfield. In Falk’s book, Mango’s daily nap routine is interrupted by a foreign object on the bed where he likes to doze. There’s a happy ending. The book is cute yet clever and littered with fun details (a sleeping human lays near an open volume of “Knowing Your Cat;” the cat imagines a queen-sized bed comes equipped with a crown). It’s been a number of years since I read to a young person, but this book offers a relatable story for school-age kids and good practice for readers with a little experience.
But Mango doesn’t stop at the book’s final page. Nope. The companion website offers links to purchase both a Mango T-shirt (in kids and adults sizes, no less) and a plush orange cat toy. There’s also an intro by Falk promising more Mango adventures in the future, and an ongoing schedule of Mango-themed parties. The next of these takes place on Saturday, July 12 from 1-5 p.m. at the Stephens-Lee Center. The book launch event is free and includes games, prizes and refreshments. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-8692.
Other local and regional kids’ reads:
• Madeleine Claire and the Dinosaur (Brave Ulysses, 2006) by Jerald Pope
• What It’s Like In The Stars/ and Easy coloring book by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (with companion CD and interactive Website).
• Immersed in Verse: An Informative, Slightly Irreverent & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet’s Life (Lark Books, 2006) by Allan Wolf.
• Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach (Kids Can Press, 2008) by Melanie Watt (winner of the 2008 North Carolina Children’s Book Award in the Picture Book category).
• The Dirty Cowboy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) by by Amy Timberlake and Adam Rex (Rex was named winner of the 2008 North Carolina Children’s Book Award in the Junior Book category).
• Snow Day! (Peachtree Publishers, 2007) by Lester Laminack.
Know of other good children’s books by regional authors? Share them here.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter