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Michèle Coxon Biography (1950-) - Sidelights

cat stories children sam

British artist and children's book author Michèle Coxon gets her inspiration from her love of animals. Among her many books about cats, Have You Fed the Cat? is an excellent example of Coxon's illustrative skill. The story focuses around Sam, a young calico kitten who goes to live at the Robinson's house. Upon arrival he is lavished with attention, however as time progress, Sam finds that the only way he can gain attention is by meowing for food. In order to keep their new kitten quiet and discourage him from scratching up the newspaper or sleeping on the computer keyboard, the family members all begin to feed Sam in order to divert his attention. "Coxon's artwork is so outstanding it elevates [the story] to full-charm status" commented Booklist critic Ilene Cooper, adding that the illustrator's artwork contains "such life" that the tiny kitten "almost leaps off the page."

Coxon once told Something about the Author: "I started writing children's stories after I picked up my cat and there was silence! My cat normally purrs like a pneumatic drill and that day there was nothing. My children were there and I asked them if they had seen Michèle Coxon's humorous self-illustrated picture book, Have You Fed the Cat?, finds Sam the cat getting food from everyone in the family, all of whom think they are the only one taking care of the increasingly porky puss. the cat's purr. So The Cat Who Lost His Purr was born....All[my early] stories so far are developed from ideas that my cats gave me." At this point in her career, Coxon could boast "six cats, one rat, and a stray dog who walked into my life and took over my sofa."

"I have always painted and I have had several wildlife exhibitions. I love the countryside and animals and hope to give more of my time to conservation. I enjoy traveling and going to schools. I talk to the children about books and stories and encourage them to illustrate their own stories."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Have You Fed the Cat?, p. 488.

ONLINE

Naked Christ Web site, http://www.nakedchrist.co.uk/ (January 16, 2005), "Michèle Coxon.'

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