Friday, April 3, 2015

Won Ton and Chopstick blog tour + author interview & giveaway

 April is National Poetry Month and so what better way to celebrate than with a book of poetry! I'm so excited to have author Lee Wardlaw on the blog today to talk about her new book Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, the sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

Lee Wardlaw swears that her first spoken word was “kitty.” Since then, she’s shared her life with 30 cats (not all at the same time!) and published 30 books for young readers, including Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Children’s Poetry Award, the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry, and the Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion. She lives in Santa Barbara, California with her family. 

Thanks for coming on the blog today Lee! Won Ton and Chopstick is the sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. What made you decide to give Won Ton a new story to tell? 
 I loved writing from the viewpoint of Won Ton the cat. His thoughts and words and “catitude” came so naturally to me in the first book that I just had to pair up with him again. Too, judging from my fan mail and the too-numerous-to-count comments I’ve received during school visits, there are way more dog-lovers out there than cat people! What better way to please my audience and disrupt Won Ton’s lazy life than to introduce a (gasp!) adorable puppy into the household?

What drew you to creating stories told entirely in haiku? 
Several years ago, I wrote a few haiku about our cats for a poetry class taught by my friend and fellow author Ellen Kelley ( At the time, I was struggling with the writing of a picture book based on the sudden death of my son’s cat, Beaujolais. I planned to call it The Book of Beau, but I kept putting the manuscript aside because it was just so sad.

Then, one day, while revising the kitty-ku for class, it hit me: I should write the more uplifting story
of how my son became buddies with our new adopted kitten, Papaya. And I should write that story from Papaya’s point of view. And Papaya should tell his story in haiku! I mean, if a cat could speak human, wouldn’t it be in haiku? The two have so much in common! Both haiku and cats are deceptively simple; they both live in the now; they’re equally beautiful and elegant; and they both speak volumes in a just few words. Haiku aren’t furry, but hey, you can’t have everything.

Other than haiku, what are some of your favorite types of poems? 
I tend to fall in love with specific poems rather than certain poetry types. Here’s a sampling of a few favs: 

The first (and only the first!) stanza of “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (read it aloud and listen to its musicality. Holy wow!)
If” by Rudyard Kipling
Key” by Valerie Worth 
“Sophie, Who Taunted the Dogs” by Alice Schertle, from her book I am the Cat, illustrated by Mark Buehner (HarperCollins, 1999)
The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service. (Once a year, my dad regales the family with his chilling recitation of this one!)

Describe the plot of Won Ton and Chopstick in a haiku. 
A purrfect life doomed
for good with one woof. Sibling
rivals with whiskers.

Since my blog is about food, books and travel, tell me: what is your favorite book, your favorite food, and your favorite place you've ever traveled? 
Favorite children’s book: Officer Buckle and Gloria, written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
Favorite Foods: Sweet potato fries (crunchy); Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lovers Chocolate Bar (85% cacao); and Hawaiian luau pulled pork. (I make it in my crock-pot since I don’t have an imu.)
Favorite places I’ve ever traveled: Kauai, Hawaii and the Scottish Highlands.

Thanks for visiting the blog today Lee! Readers young and old are sure to love Won Ton and Chopstick! 

Activity Kit for Won Ton and Chopstick:

Teacher’s Guide for Won Ton and Chopstick:
Twitter: @LeeWardlaw


One lucky winner will receive both books featuring the adorable cat, Won Ton. Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku and Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku. (U.S. addresses only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog tour stops:
Mon, Mar 30
Library Fanatic
Tues, Mar 31
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Apr 1
Teach Mentor Texts
Thurs, Apr 2
Fri, Apr 3
A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
Sat, Apr 4
Booking Mama
Mon, Apr 6
The Children's Book Review
Tues, Apr 7
5 Minutes for Books

Wed, Apr 8
Cracking the Cover
Thurs, Apr 9
Unleashing Readers
Fri, Apr 10
Word Spelunker
Sat, Apr 11
Bermuda Onion


  1. Thank you for the delicious interview! I had fun - - especially writing the haiku.

  2. Janis-our first kid
    Cuddly 90 pound lab dog
    Lived to be 14

  3. How could you not smile
    When happy puppies ruin
    Your best pair of shoes?

  4. Fat Wilhemina/Lurks to steal other cats' food/Then sleeps for the day