“Cats versus Dogs in BOOM!”
Sometimes the simplest explanations are the best ones. In the case of my book Boom! the idea came to me because, in my experience as a dog and cat owner, this is how dogs and cats act in thunderstorms. Dogs that I’ve owned have always been terrified, while our cat was amused by the light show and the noise. When a thunderstorm came she would sit in a window and watch quietly, twitching her tail as the sky grew bright and the noise got louder. Our dogs, on the other hand, would find a bathtub or closet to hide in, and shake uncontrollably. Usually my wife or I would have to hold them until the storm passed.
BOOM! isn’t a book about fear per se. It’s more about how amusing cats and dogs can be. Cats have that air of supreme confidence, while dogs, especially in a thunderstorm, are anything but confident. The wide eyed expression of “make it stop” are what appealed to me when I drew the dog in BOOM! I often draw dogs with that crazed look that dogs make when they’re happy, sad, or scared. Dogs are so emotive. You can always tell how a dog is feeling by the expression on its face. Cats play it much closer to the vest. They’re good poker players.
BOOM! is the first I Like to Read Comics that I’ve created. I played with some of the conventions of comics with the use of the textured, lined walls. The oversized hand-drawn type is also reminiscent of traditional comic book style.
The dog in BOOM! became the superhero and made the storm go away because dogs tend to be eternal optimists. The dogs we’ve had always believed they could catch that squirrel, even after failing a thousand times. They always thought if they sat, they’d get another treat…and they were always right. They always thought if they pushed their nose into your hand they’d get that ear scratch, and they were always right. And they always thought if they barked, whined, and fussed long enough, they’d get to go outside, and they were always right. And so I believe, although petrified, dogs probably do think they can will a storm away!
Our cat didn’t really care about too much. Eating? Whatever. Playing? Maybe, if she felt like it. Purring in your lap? Actually, that was a no brainer! The cat in BOOM! is similar to our cat— she did things on her schedule, no matter what was happening, even a thunderstorm. You have to admire cats for being so “chill”.
I think children will enjoy talking about how the dog and the cat approach the storm differently. Along with a teacher or adult, children might enjoy comparing and contrasting the dog and the cat’s behavior. And I hope children also enjoy the resolution and recognize their own superhero dog, if they have one.
As I get older, I am much more like the dog.
Published June 6th, 2023 by Holiday House
About the Book: BOOM! A funny story about a panicky dog, a nonchalant cat, and a loud thunderstorm.
This early graphic novel from two-time Theodor Seuss Geisel Honoree Paul Meisel is perfect for first graders learning to read on their own.
Dog and Cat are sleeping peacefully when–BOOM! A thunderstorm comes. While Cat is happy to spend the noisy night playing with toys, Dog frantically tries find the just the right hiding spot.
Easy-to-read text and energetic, cartoon-style artwork make for an accessible story filled with personality and visual humor. The recipient of two Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books, Paul Mesiel brings young readers on a silly, nighttime adventure.
Comics-lovers can now share the fun with their kids, students, siblings, and younger friends who are learning to read!
I Like to Read® Comics are perfect for kids who are challenged by or unengaged in reading, kids who love art, and the growing number of young comics fans. Filled with eye-catching art, humor, and terrific stories these comics provide unique reading experiences for growing minds.
I Like to Read® Comics, like their award-winning I Like to Read® counterpart, are created by celebrated artists and support reading comprehension to transform children into lifelong readers.
We hope that all new readers will say, “I like to read comics!”
About the Author: I SEE A CAT, a Holiday House I Like To Read book, was named a 2018 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award winner by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association. SEE ME RUN was a 2012 ALSC Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor winner. SEE ME DIG and SEE ME GO are two other books in the series. I SEE A BAT, another book in the I Like to Read series for new readers, is available now.
I’m the author/illustrator of a dozen books with more on the way. Here’s a link to a review in the New York Times Book Review of MY AWESOME SUMMER BY P. MANTIS (Holiday House). AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes named MY AWESOME SUMMER BY P. MANTIS a 2018 finalist for best books of the year in the Children’s Science Picture Books category. MY HAPPY YEAR BY E. BLUEBIRD, MY STINKY SUMMER BY S. BUG, and MY TINY LIFE BY RUBY T. HUMMINGBIRD are three other titles in the Nature Diary series. YOU POOP HERE is a humorous and simple potty training book which I authored and illustrated, available also as a board book. BOOM! is a new Holiday House I Like to Read Comics book for emerging readers about a dog who’s scared of thunder and his cat friend who’s not.
I wrote and illustrated GOOD NIGHT, BAT! GOOD MORNING, SQUIRREL! and ANNA AND SAMIA: THE TRUE STORY OF SAVING A BLACK RHINO. I also illustrated DOGS LOVE CARS, written by Leda Schubert.
To date I have illustrated more than 90 books, including early readers, picture books, eight books in the HarperCollins Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science series (LIGHT IS ALL AROUND US, ENERGY MAKES THINGS HAPPEN, FORCES MAKE THINGS MOVE, and others), and a number of mass market books. Two chapter books written by my son, Peter, and illustrated by me, are STINKY SPIKE THE PIRATE DOG and STINKY SPIKE AND THE ROYAL RESCUE.
I graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Wesleyan University, where I also played on the squash team. I studied in Rome at the Tyler School of Art my Junior year. I received an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and worked briefly as a graphic designer before becoming a full time illustrator and author.
In addition to children’s trade books I also work in editorial, educational and advertising illustration. I illustrate traditionally and digitally, and use a combination of both.
When not illustrating and writing or spending time with the family I like to play tennis, pickleball and garden. Coco, our labradoodle seen in the picture above, is no longer with us but she was an avid runner and digger and the inspiration for a number of my books.
Facebook: Paul Meisel
Thank you, Paul, for this introduction to the animals of your book and the conversations that they can start!