Nutty Eric Litwin is the cat's meow PDF Print E-mail
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 27 March 2014 09:01
Eric Litwin (Photos provided)
Forget about snuggling up in bed to read Eric Litwin's books out loud with your child, then watching him drift off to dreamland.
Sing those books. Dance them. ROCK them!
The children's author and performer, known for four books in the "Pete the Cat" series, is this year's Literacy in the Park headliner. Put on annually by Bowling Green State University, the event will feature signings and performances by Litwin, arts and crafts and other activities. The free program is April 5 at the Stroh Center.
Litwin said he has no plans to write any more of the popular "Pete the Cat" books, but he is coming out with a new picture book series, starting with "Bedtime at the Nut House," to be released this fall.
"The new books are musical and fun. It's about a family called the nuts and they're actually nuts," said Litwin, who added that book two is already in the works, along with two early-readers. "This series is fun. It's just great fun."
In the book, Wallie and Hazel don't want to go to bed, so mom has to find a way to convince them to turn in. As she's pointing upstairs, mom slips into a John Travolta move from "Saturday Night Fever."
Pitching the book to publishers in New York City became a type of concert for Litwin.
"I realize that my work needs to be experienced. These are performance pieces. They're meant to be read out loud. You're meant to feel them. You're meant to sing them."
By the end of the meeting at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Litwin had the staff out of their chairs, shaking their groove thing. He said a week later, he got a call from one of the editors who said the employees were still humming along with Litwin's book.
PetetheCatRockSchool_JKT_C.3 BedtimeAtNuthouse_Cover.3
Eric Litwin has a new children’s book series coming out in September. The first book is “The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House.” Litwin wrote four “Pete the Cat” books, including “Rocking in my School Shoes.” The author will be at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center on April 5 for the annual Conda Family Literacy in the Park.
(It's true, too. Just try listening to "Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons" - a YouTube favorite - and not have it stick in your head.)
Even though "Bedtime" isn't due out until September, Litwin will be previewing the new "Nut" book for Bowling Green families. In addition to Literacy in the Park, he will also meet with some local students.
"When we do the story live, we're going to share the disco move," he said, promising a rollicking performance.
Litwin will also tell a "Pete the Cat" story and conduct an "experiment."
"There's always surprises," he said of his live reading and singing.
Litwin's evolution as a performer and writer started when he was just a kid.
"My dad told me stories. My mom loves to sing everything - even hello into the phone," he said.
As a former special education teacher for third through fifth-graders, he worked performing into his lessons.
"I'm interested in early literacy and I'm interested in approaching it through the arts."
Litwin, who is 47, lives in Atlanta but is almost constantly on the road, performing more than 200 shows a year. The performances are often test grounds for a new book.
"I will tell a story hundreds to a thousand times before I feel it's ready to be printed."
Besides writing and performing, Litwin also operates a web site geared toward educators, librarians and parents that lists dozens of songs and activities to go with them.
Click on the Learning Groove to see song lyrics, sheet music and ideas to get moving.
As "Pete the Cat" would say: "It's all good."

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