Oates writes first book for children

September 30, 1998|By Arizona Republic

Joyce Carol Oates -- author of more than 30 novels, 20 short-story collections and eight books of poetry -- has penned her first children's book, a tale about an adventurous cat named Muffin who likes watermelon, lettuce, peanut butter and rye crackers. And who gets lost.

Based on her real-life cat and the 4-year-old daughter of the book's editor, "Come Meet Muffin!" is a guaranteed hit for families with cats. However, the underlying themes of friendship and getting lost and returning home to the people who love you have universal appeal.

"Muffin is an animal friend," says Oates, 60, in a phone interview. "We have emotional relationships with animals that are difficult to write about in adult fiction. Animals have their own personalities and emotions. The relationship between children and animals is very beautiful. The two are almost on an equal plane.

"In a larger sense, this is a fairy tale in which a child identifies with a lost animal who is not really lost. The cat says: 'I wasn't really lost, because my house is always there.' Then he goes home and everybody is waiting for him."

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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