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May 2021 – Silver Lining From 2020 – My Cat Can See Ghosts

  • by Sally Greer

It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago we experienced our first lockdown, many hunkered down trying to making sense of the pandemic, but illustrator and writer Emily Joe, decided it was the perfect time to produce her very first book My Cat Can See Ghosts.

Joe says the book draws on the phenomena of nocturnal feline behaviour. ‘At around 9.30pm my cat gets that vacant glaze in their eye and suddenly starts hurtling around the house.’ We’re talking over zoom and when I ask what that’s all about, Joe says there’s only one conclusion - her cat has seen a ghost. Of course I have to agree.

Its not surprising that the Auckland based Art Director is passionate about animals, she and her husband own two cats and four chickens. Lockdown provided the space to draw and write the delightful picture book, spending her days zigzagging between rhyme and illustration. ‘I’d be in the shower and come up with an idea, I’d come up with the next verse and start working out a rhyme.

My Cat Can See Ghosts was written especially for cat lovers, Joe emphasising it was important not to name the cat or place a cat owner in the book. ‘I wanted this to be about their cat. I was aware of people who were going to buy the book, I needed to consider them in the decisions I made.’

The response from readers has been fantastic, Bob Docherty of Bobs Books said his granddaughters were instant fans declaring My Cat Can See Ghosts was ‘just like their cats’. Joe says she’s really chuffed with the level of support from family and friends buying the book. ‘I thought it would just be parents or people buying for nephews and nieces. It’s been quite special, it’s made me assess my ability to give that support back.’

Of course Beatnik fell in love with this story immediately, it’s a wonderful showcase of Joe the writer and the illustrator. We’re so excited for this hugely talented author and My Cat Can See Ghosts is one of the many silver linings from 2020.As the nights get cooler it’s time to start stocking up on the family reading for those bedtime stories.

ngā mihi nui
Sally and the Beatnik crew



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