October 27, 2018

AZ Big Media

Valley author Erin Thorburn returns with ‘Scaredy Cat’

Just in time for Halloween, fans of Valley children’s book author and illustrator Erin Thorburn are in for a treat.

Thorburn, whose first book, “Stick to it Chick,” introduced readers to characters from the Sassafras Ranch, is back with her second book, “Scaredy Cat.” For a limited time, you can get an autographed copy of “Scaredy Cat” here. AZ Big Media talked with the author about her latest book.

AZ Big Media: What was the inspiration for “Scaredy Cat?”

Erin Thorburn: I grew up loving books like James Marshall’s “George and Martha” series, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and Richard Scarry’s books. I loved — and still do love — books that embrace silliness, while still offering subtle messaging and inspiration. “Scaredy Cat” and “Stick to it Chick” are designed to encourage children to enjoy their uniqueness without them — or their parents — feeling like they’re being force-fed an agenda. Authors and illustrators like Mo Willems (“Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”) inspire me by allowing silliness and joy to jump off the page through lively, endearing characters. Scaredy Cat and his friends are certainly quirky and meant to be goofy in the best ways. For as much as we encourage children to read education-oriented material, it’s exciting to see what happens when we put pure fun into their hands.

ABM: What lesson or message do you hope kids take away after reading or hearing the story of “Scaredy Cat?”

ET: “What makes you weird is also what makes you wonderful” is the tagline for the Sassafras Ranch series. Although I believe there is more social awareness now than when I was growing up, in regard to the perception of “being different,” I still identify modern-day children struggling with this concept — including my own children. Although “Scaredy Cat” can be read independently, it’s great fun to read aloud. My hope is that caregivers and children can take away the message that no matter what “different” looks like in their world, it’s something to be celebrated and embraced — even if others can’t quite figure us out.  

ABM: Tell us about the decision to have all several of your children’s book stories take place on a farm, the Sassafras Ranch?

ET: The Sassafras Ranch naturally lends itself to being the perfect homestead and safe haven for a host of dynamic — and different — characters. During the illustration process, new characters emerge with each book — many are a surprise to me when they appear during the creative process. Who knew a trio of S’mores ingredients would find their way into “Scaredy Cat?” I didn’t.

AZB: What can fans of the Sassafras Ranch series expect next from Erin Thorburn?

ET: The first Sassafras Ranch book, “Stick to it Chick,” will be out at the end of November with a new look! And, readers of “Scaredy Cat,” can look for a clue as to what character will assume the role of protagonist in the third Sassafras Ranch book (Hint: look closely at the last page). In January, I’ll be releasing a new one-off story featuring a broken heart. Stay tuned.

SOCIAL MEDIA: You can follow Erin Thorburn on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @erinwriting.

The author also routinely visits elementary schools, libraries and other venues. During her appearances, Thorburn often conducts interactive writing workshops for children ranging from pre-K to 6th grade. To learn more, contact her here.