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Bits & Pieces by Judy Schachner

This past Sunday night, I spent a bit of time sobbing over Judy Schachner's Facebook status. You see, it featured a photo of a curiously seated but very direct-looking Siamese cat, and the following information: "Tink - We loved you to Bits & Pieces 1992 - 2013". Why was I so affected by the death of someone else's cat? It was because of Judy's wonderful new book, Bits & Pieces, which made me feel like I "knew" Tink.

The book provides a pretty good summary sort of bio of Tink, a funny guy without much of a brain (or at least that's how he's described), with a curious way of sitting.

As a young cat, Tink eats a lot of things he ought not (including, apparently, a slinky), buying himself a trip to the vet. During that trip, Tink became enthralled with the idea of being outdoors, and spent years trying to sneak his way out. Until one day, on his 20th birthday, he does just that.

The book details Tink's outdoor adventure and eventual rescue. It is a simply told story with wonderful illustrations, and I fell in love with it on first reading at a local Barnes & Noble. But I held off buying it until the following weekend, when I made a special trip to Children's Book World in Haverford, PA to hear Judy read her book aloud and get myself a signed copy.

I have since read the book several times, trying to figure out just what I love so much about this book. It's the simplicity of the story, I think, coupled with the realistic kitty details and affectionate telling. And my response to the news of Tink's death this past weekend is, I believe, a tribute to the power of picture books to create connections between readers and the characters therein. It's

You can listen to Judy read her book too:

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