‘Petula, Circus Cat’ is a class act

By on December 12, 2018

Marylouise Sholly, who is known for her role as a correspondent for The Ephrata Review, the Lititz Record Express, and The Reading Eagle, has published her first children’s book, “Petula, Circus Cat,” which tells the story of a cat with a unique and interesting talent.

Inspired by a real cat in Sholly’s life, the story begins with a homeless cat that shows up at the door of Mr. and Mrs. Bumble. They take her in, and although the cat is scared and shy at first, Mrs. Bumble’s affection brings her out of her shell.

“Mr. and Mrs. Bumble–Thelma and Horace–are her pet parents. I guess, roughly, they are based on my husband and myself,” Sholly said. “My husband, Bean, gets a kick out of that.”
The Bumbles decide to name her Petula, and she develops a trick of standing on her back feet and walking to Mrs. Bumble.

“Petula, Circus Cat” is based on my own cat, Petula, who actually walks on her back feet for a short distance,” Sholly said. “I don’t recall the first time I saw Petula walk on her back feet, but it was really surprising. She knows that I like to see her do this, because I always exclaim and pet her, so she does it a lot now–only for about six or eight steps–which I still think is pretty much for a cat. I’ve had cats all my life and never had one that walked to me.”

The cover of Marylouise Sholly’s first children’s book, “Petula, Circus Cat.”

As a result of Petula’s unique trick, Mr. Bumble believes she can be their ticket to fame and fortune. He plans to make her a celebrity by taking her on a world tour to perform. Although, Mrs. Bumble, who has developed a fondness for Petula and cares for her, wonders if making her famous is what Petula wants.

“Petula only walks to me–not to my husband or anybody else. She is definitely a one-woman cat,” Sholly said. “Every morning, when I open the bathroom door, there stands a little cat, looking at me, on only her two back feet. She usually takes a few steps toward me to get her morning “petting” in. Or, I’ll be walking through the living room and she’ll walk over to me on her two feet.”

Parents and children can enjoy “Petula, Circus Cat” with its colorful illustrations, endearing storyline, and the underlying message about the transformative power of love that Mr. and Mrs. Bumble discover through their experiences with Petula. Sholly said she hopes her book can encourage kids–and their parents–to be kind.

“In the book, the Bumbles sacrifice their dreams of becoming rich through Petula’s talent by deciding to put Petula’s needs ahead of their own,” Sholly said. “Also, Petula really blossomed under their care and that’s part of the message, too. I think we all know that love has transformative power, but it may be something we need to be reminded of at times.”

“Petula, Circus Cat” is based on Sholly’s own cat, Petula, who actually walks on her back feet for a few steps.

“Petula, Circus Cat,” published by Austin Macauley, who is based in Great Britain with an office in New York, was released Aug. 31 in both hard-back and soft-cover. It can be read to children ages 3 to 6 and can be enjoyed by young readers ages 7 to 9. Sholly is currently working on her next children’s book, whose two main characters are actually two of Petula’s kittens, titled “The Adventures of Detective Rocket and her Trusty Sidekick, Princess Star.”

“Petula, Circus Cat” is available through Amazon and the Barnes and Noble website. The ISBN number is: 9781641822251.

For more information, visit austinmacauley.com/us.

About the author: Marylouise Sholly enjoys doing freelance work for The Wall Street Journal. She has worked as a print journalist for more than 20 years for various local newspapers and has been employed for most of that time as a full-time writer/photographer.

Emily Jacoby is a staff writter for The Ephrata Review. 

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