Ruth Reviews and Interviews – The Curly-Tailed Cat by Lexington Alexander

the curly-tailed cat by lexington alexanderI have had the privilege of receiving a free copy of this book from the author in return for a non-biased review, and I welcome Lex to my blog for an author interview!

After being teased about his curly cat tail, Curry ventures out and searches for a way to straighten it forever! When things don’t go according to plan, the curly-tailed cat discovers that quick fixes aren’t always the best … The Curly-tailed Cat is a children’s book that teaches how to cope with bullying at school.

The Review

Story

I enjoyed the story, it was a simple premise that Curry the cat (awesome name) is bullied about his tail so he tries to straighten it, but that doesn’t work out. It’s something that we can all relate to, having experienced bullying at some point in our lives.

Characters

Curry is an adorable kitten that I couldn’t help feeling sorry for. He is determined to try and solve his problem.

Art

The art style is cartoony, vibrant, and expressive, clearly portraying what’s going on and compliments the story nicely. I particularly like the crooked woods, and Mrs. Miao eating a bowl of insane fire chillie! (apologies for the picture quality)

Moral

The story is about being different, how people are treated who are different, and how you deal with it. Curry is bullied because of his curly tail, but it turns out all of the other kittens have characteristics that make them different too. In the end, Curry embraces his difference whereas the other kittens feel bad about theirs.

Value for money

The Curly-Tailed Cat is on Amazon for £7.66 paperback, and £3.19 for kindle. It’s a large format book and the price is fairly competitive although I would have preferred it to be a bit cheaper. I think because of the likable character this book would be enjoyed multiple times, especially by a child who can relate to the story. Children will definitely enjoy the illustrations in this book.

Age appropriateness

I think this book would be suitable for children aged 4-5, I think that the moral would mean little to children younger than that.

My vote

Four stars. I enjoyed the images and think that children would benefit from the message in the book.

How I rate books:

Mostly I look for:

  • Great images
  • Exciting story
  • Message or meaning

Five stars: Only my very favourite books get a 5 star rating
Four stars: Books that I enjoy
Three stars: Books that are okay
Two stars: Books that are pretty rubbish
One star: Books that make me mad

And now time for an…

Author Interview with Lexington Alexander

I certainly enjoyed interviewing Lex, I thought his answers were very thoughtful!

What made you decide to write a children’s book?

This is actually a really weird story. I currently teach English in Taiwan and a lot of my kids are really self conscious about little things. For example, I used to have one little girl in my class and I thought she was cute, but the kids would always tease her and say that she had a big face and I thought, Well, that’s weird – because I didn’t see it. In America, I’ve never even heard anybody say that another person  had a big face and never really noticed that about people, but it’s a much bigger issue here. Plastic surgery has been on the rise here for the last ten years and – in my opinion – many people don’t really even need it. I’ve seen many people go on television that are attractive, but they are bothered by some aspect of their face that I would never even notice.

So, while I was thinking about that, my cat walked in front of me and curled his tail like a candy cane over his back, did not unroll it, and continued walking and I wish I had recorded it because it was so funny. And I thought, If my cat had to go to school, the kittens would make fun of his curly tail, just because it’s a little bit different. Then, I thought that I would try to write a book to teach my children a lesson.

How did you decide on the name Curry?

This is also a weird story. One reason is because my cat is orange, like curry, but the other reason is because my kids really like Stephen Curry. Some are obsessed with American basketball. So, I thought they would like it if I named the main character Curry.

How did you go about choosing your illustrator?

Oh, gosh. I actually posted on DeviantArt for an artist and there were so many talented people that it was really difficult to choose, but I ended up choosing Michael Perez because he had an existing body of work and I thought his style would match my story. I generally allow artists to interpret work as they like, but I do provide some direction. It’s not something I want to micromanage. I don’t like it when people have to redo work.

What do you want children to take away from your book?

There are a number of things. First, kids need to be themselves and not be planning their plastic surgeries from and early age. Everyone with curly hair wants straight hair and vice versa. People should try to work with what they have.

Of course, people can do what they want, but we have a problem with our cultures that is leading to body dismorphic disorder. Obviously, if people are walking around telling you that you have a big face and whatever else, this is going to affect people – especially kids – so we have to stop kids from doing that to each other and let them know that of course everyone has something a little different or unflattering about themselves.

Also, if kids are experiencing this type of problem, they need to turn to their parents or their teacher and not try to come up with some quick fix to solve the problem. I saw this happen when I was a child in school and the kids just ended up with more ridicule.

Will we be seeing any more picture books from you? Any more about Curry?

I don’t think I’ll use Curry again unless he’s insanely popular, but I have a new book out –  just yesterday actually – that’s about assumptions and it’s based on a true story. It’s about a woman who finds some black pellets on the floor while sweeping and her family immediately assumes that there’s a rat in her house. However, I think people will be really surprised with the ending.

About the Guest:

Lexington Alexander was born in San Luis Obispo, California in 1984. He graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in general studies in 2010. He began a career in game development before becoming an independent author. He can be contacted through Goodreads.

One thought on “Ruth Reviews and Interviews – The Curly-Tailed Cat by Lexington Alexander

  • November 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm
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    That is a great review and it sounds like a wonderful book for children. Since I have many grandchildren, I will be looking at it closely as a Christmas gift. The interview with the author, Lexington was very enlightening. It is funny how inspiration hits.

    Reply

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