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A pop-up book of crazy cats

Illustrated by Ed Eaves

Five purring pussycats
That are stranger than they look.
Each cat has a secret
That you'll find inside this book ...

Meet Skipalong the Cowboy,
Black-eared Bob the Pirate and
other playful pussycats in this
purr-fect rhyming pop-up book.

"Something pretty special to enjoy time and again".



UK Hardcover • ISBN-10: 1847385737 • ISBN-13: 9781847385734

Click here for details of foreign language editions
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Move you pointer from side to side over the arrow bars to open and close the pop-ups!
(You may have to wait a moment, while hidden images are loaded, before the arrow bars start to work)

Illustrations © 2010 Ed Eaves. Reproduced by permission of Simon & Schuster Children's Books,

Most of the poems that make up the text to Pirate Pussycat came from a larger collection called Ten Purring Pussycats that was written as a picture book. The picture book version was never published, but several years after writing it Emma Blackburn at Simon and Schuster suggested that I adapt the idea into a pop-up book.

Pop-up books tend to have fewer pages than picture books as they are more expensive to manufacturer. So the book was shortened to Five Purring Pussycats to help keep the cost down.

The poems were about the secret lives of a group of cats and we selected five from the original ten that we thought were the most appealing and would make the best pop-ups - a cowboy cat, a pirate cat, a circus cat, a space cat and a knight cat.

Sylvia the Circus Cat

High above the circus
Swings a supple Siamese,
Sylvia, the death-defying
Queen of the Trapeze.
She doesn’t use a safety net.
She says she does not care,
Since, even if she lost a life,
She’d still have eight to spare!
The original version of the book contained a poem about Sylvia the Circus Cat (shown top with Ed's character sketch). However Sylvia's figure had to be so small in the pop-up (see CAD drawing above) that we decided to use another character instead.

I designed what I felt were appealing pop-ups for all but one of the poems, Sylvia the Circus Cat. Sylvia is a trapeze artist and so I felt that the pop-up had to show her swinging through the air on a trapeze. The problem was that in order to show a figure moving a long distance from one place to another, the figure itself needs to be relatively small. Although I designed and made up a pop-up like this, we decided not to use it as it was so out of keeping with the other pop-ups in the book which all had large figures.

All this goes to show that there is a difference between writing for picture books and pop-up books. A flying trapeze is an exciting setting, with lots of potential for appealing picture book illustration, but with very limited potential for a moving pop-up!

Having decided to replace Sylvia, I went back to the poems that were left over from the original set, but decided that none of them had the potential for a sufficiently appealing pop, so I wrote a new poem, Grimalkin, the Wizard Cat, to fit the bill.

By this time, Ed Eaves had begun illustrating the book. I hadn’t worked with Ed before and was very impressed by how well he was able to get his head around the technicalities of illustrating three-dimensional pop-ups, something that many illustrators find difficult.

This is the first cover design for the pop-up book, which was originally titled Five Purring Pussycats.

The poem for Skipalong the Cowboy Cat, refers to Skipalong lassoing mice, so the pop shows the cat doing exactly that. Ed has painted the same three mice somewhere on every page, although you’ll have to look carefully for them on Sir Lionheart’s the Knight Cat’s page. My favourite pop is the final one, showing all five Cats where Ed has blended the settings for all five characters together into a single background.

After we finished the book, feedback from Simon and Schuster’s sales and marketing people suggested that the title Five Purring Pussycats, didn’t really convey the content, which was about cat’s engaged in exciting activities rather than sitting around purring, so the book was re-titled Pirate Pussycat!

Pop ups are not only fun but they form an essential part of every childs memories. (I really remember my Incredible Hulk pop up book in the Eighties.) So knowing this, you can pretty much figure that the book has to be something special in order to gain that much coveted place. Within this title you get fun, you get characters who stand out and of course there is a fantasy within for almost every child. Add to the mix a well known author who knows their trade and you’ve gotten something pretty special to enjoy time and again. Great stuff.


Translated Title
Hardcover ISBN
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Brazil - Portugese
Os Gatinhos Brincalhões
Cinco Gatinhos Ronronantes