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by Sarah Kurpiel

Thank you, Tara, for hosting the cover reveal for my latest picture book, ORIGINAL CAT, COPY CAT (Greenwillow/HarperCollins), which “pounces” onto shelves this August!

Pineapple loves his comfortable life as the one and only cat. But when new kitten Kiwi comes along, Pineapple’s sweet life turns sour—until he sees the world from a new point of view.

Without further ado, here is the cover:

The story got its start back in 2018 with a title (which, amazingly, never changed), a loose concept, and the encouragement of my agents, Allie Levick and Rebecca Sherman. I set the idea aside while I finished my debut picture book, LONE WOLF. When I picked it up again a few months later, I jumped right into my favorite part: designing the characters. I sketched cat after cat after cat until I finally found a pair that just felt right. One day, the name “Pineapple” popped into my head. Not only did the cat I’d been sketching slightly resemble a pineapple, but also, personality-wise, he was prickly at times but sweet on the inside. It was one of those special “aha!” moments—a rather “fruitful” one! Suddenly, my head was filled with ideas for names, colors, words, and patterns. Of course, it took a while for all the pieces to come together. But, looking back, the book title and main character’s name really helped the story take shape.

While the title didn’t change, the jacket certainly did. Below are a couple of jacket concepts the wonderful team at Greenwillow considered:

As every cat person knows, cats are naturally funny. This story celebrates their everyday humor. I had a blast drawing the many antics of Kiwi, who is inspired by my own cat, Cad, pictured here getting in on an F&G photo shoot:

ORIGINAL CAT, COPY CAT will be published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins August 3, 2021 and is currently available for pre-order.

Sarah is giving away a signed copy of ORIGINAL CAT, COPY CAT to be sent your way when it releases in August 2021.

Leave one comment below to be entered into the random drawing.

Good luck!


Sarah Kurpiel is the author and illustrator of LONE WOLF, which was named an Indie Next Pick. She is a librarian and a self-taught illustrator, inspired by animals, nature, and everyday life. She uses a power wheelchair and considers her disability an important part of her identity. Sarah lives with a cat as loud and as fast as Kiwi in Downers Grove, Illinois. View her portfolio at sarahkurpiel.com and follow her on Instagram at @sarah.kurpiel.

 

by Sarah Kurpiel

Thank you, Tara, for hosting the cover reveal for my debut picture book, LONE WOLF (Greenwillow/HarperCollins), which I both wrote and illustrated.

Maple the husky loves being the Parker family’s dog, but strangers always seem to think she’s a wolf! It’s true: Maple can hunt, she can howl, and she can dig, just like wolves can. Oh, no! What if she is a wolf and doesn’t belong with her family after all?

LONE WOLF hits the shelves in May 2020.

Without further ado, here is the cover:

The main character in LONE WOLF, Maple, is inspired by my childhood dog, a Siberian husky with loads of personality. Like Maple, my husky was playful and goofy and stubborn in all the best ways. She liked to hunker down on the couch, pull us on long walks, and chew up action figures and video game controllers. I kid you not, she once stole an unlit candle by the wick from a spindly glass candleholder without knocking it over. She had skills!

I also remember how people often compared her to a wolf. This last memory got me thinking. I imagined my husky wondering if maybe, just maybe, she was a wolf. And that’s where the story got its start. I think a lot of kids (and people of all ages, really) can relate to the way Maple feels when she starts questioning her identity. I know I can. This story is about family, self-acceptance, and belonging—plus, it’s pretty funny!

As for the cover, I knew what I wanted to do with it from fairly early on. Colors and details changed with the help of my editor and art director, but the concept remained the same: Maple peeking out, staring squarely at the reader, a look of confusion, surprise, or worry in her eyes. Here are two early sketches:

Elements on the final cover design, like the dotted line and hand lettered text, appear throughout the book. I can picture young readers tracing the dotted lines with their fingers as the lines meander and loop across the page. I initially hand lettered the title simply so I could visualize the cover as a whole for myself. It wasn’t until later in the process that I learned that my editor and art director were going to use it (at which point I cleaned it up a bit). I’d love to do more hand letting in the future.

And first and foremost on the cover is, of course, Maple herself. I never get tired of drawing stylized huskies, which is fortunate since I had to draw Maple so very many times. If you scroll back in my Instagram feed, you’ll see a few of my earliest husky doodles. Drawing dogs in general is such a pleasure for me. (If you need further evidence, be sure to check out the endpapers when the book comes out.)

I’m happy with how everything came together in the end, which is in large part thanks to my editor, Martha Mihalick; art director, Sylvie Le Floc’h; and agents, Rebecca Sherman and Allie Levick. As a publishing newbie, I learned a lot over these past few months. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed making it.

LONE WOLF will be published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins in May 2020. It’s currently available for pre-order.

Thanks, Sarah! Love your style!

Sarah is giving away a signed copy of LONE WOLF to be sent your way when it releases in May 2020.

Leave one comment below to be entered into the random drawing. A winner will be selected on January 1, 2020.

Good luck!


Sarah Kurpiel is a librarian and author/illustrator from the Midwest. Her stories are inspired by animals, nature, and everyday life. Sarah has been doodling in the margins of notebooks for as long as she can remember. She started drawing digitally in 2016 and never stopped. Sarah uses a power wheelchair and considers her disability an important part of her identity. LONE WOLF is her first book. Visit her at sarahkurpiel.com and follow her on Instagram @sarah.kurpiel.

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:


BLOOP
illus by Mike Boldt
HarperCollins
July 2021

ABSURD WORDS
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
November 2021

"PRIVATE I" SERIES #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
2022

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