There’s a worn copy of Brothers Grimm fairytale The Elves and the Shoemaker that takes pride of place on Katie Mackenzie’s bookshelf at home. Katie might be 28 years old but the title still holds a special place in this new author’s heart and it’s this kind of emotion that Katie hopes young readers will also find for her very first children’s title, It’s a Zoo Thing.
Born on the New South Wales south coast, Katie can remember writing her first poem in a high school English class for an oral assessment. Anxious about public speaking, the savvy student thought it would help her nerves to write and present a poem that her audience might appreciate more so than a straight speech. And that they did! She received top marks and went on to write loads of poetry over the years – for friends’ birthdays, her own appreciation and even poetry for her grandfather’s funeral.
While Katie’s career took her to beauty school and she owned and operated a beauty salon in her hometown for some years, her poetic mind kept floating back to that beloved copy of her favourite childhood book. She wondered whether she could apply her talent to a children’s title of her very own and before she knew it, It’s a Zoo Thing was born in 2011.
Ted is the storyteller throughout Katie’s beautiful book, and he takes his friends Alice and the mischievous Joe on an adventure to the zoo. There are other fun characters along the way – including garage owner McJeeper and the tall zoo keeper – but the real story begins behind the bright yellow door…
Bermingham Books director Rachael Bermingham, publisher of It’s a Zoo Thing, says vintage-style illustrations by Ayesha Henderson combine with Katie’s delightful Dr Seuss-style rhyming story to produce a title that’s “fun for kids” and a “great learning tool for preschoolers too”.
“We’ve had heaps of terrific feedback from teachers and parents which is fabulous,” Rachael says.
While Katie is still celebrating having her very first children’s book published, she’s already carrying around a pen and a notepad to jot down ideas for the next series of books featuring Ted, Alice and Joe.
“Books stay around forever – the good ones are passed down through the years and I can only hope my book will be one of those ones too,” Katie says.
To pick up a copy of Katie’s new book It’s a Zoo Thing head into your local bookseller or go to www.BerminghamBooks.com for a signed copy.