Abra-Cat-Dabra, You’re Published!: A Five-Year-Old Author’s Account

an illustration of a girl being swarmed with cats is overlayed with the words "Abra-Cat-Dabra, You're Published! A Five-Year-Old Author's Account

This post is a part of our services overview series, “What the Heck Do We Do?”.


Five-year-old Holly Talbot’s first day of kindergarten started like any other. She bounced out of bed. She scratched her cat Eow under the chin and picked out a princess dress and high-top kicks. Another quick cuddle with Eow and … Holly had a thought.

Why don’t cats go to kindergarten?

This changed Holly’s ordinary first day of kindergarten forever. She had always loved stories, but when her family got in touch with us in March 2020, she was no longer satisfied with hearing other people tell them. Sure, her parents were curating all kinds of books for her, but she could feel those creative juices flowing. It was time to tell her own story. And with wild abandon and the bold confidence of youth, Holly became an author.



the cover for the book "Why Don't Cats Go to Kindergarten?" by Holly Talbot, edited by Kyla Girling and illustrated by Bijan S

Storytelling is an ancient and powerful communications tool that is entertaining, memorable, and informative — and best of all, you’re never too young. When Holly’s mom Caroline reached out to us to help bring Holly’s debut book to life, we were delighted. A child author, dedicating her story to her cat? We’re in! (As you can probably imagine from our last feline post.

Holly had dictated the draft, Caroline had lined up an illustrator, and now they just needed some editing, layout, and self-publishing help for Why Don’t Cats Go to Kindergarten?

“Holly couldn’t have done it without the team behind her. Neither could I, and I always recommend subcontracting out what you cannot do. Kyla was great and did such an awesome job.” —Caroline Talbot



With the story already spilling from the creative mind of a five-year-old, it was our job to help Caroline capture the story from free-spirited Holly, who was oozing with imagination and questions between flips and cartwheels. It was up to us to consult with Caroline on self-publishing options, including evaluating do-it-yourself platforms such as IngramSpark, Lulu, and Kindle Direct Publishing.

After reviewing the options, Caroline was happy to defer to our expertise and put her daughter’s project in our hands. We started by ensuring the words in Holly’s first book were edited effectively. With so few words and a focus on preserving Holly’s unique voice, this was essentially a copy edit.

Next, we collaborated with Illustrator Bijan Samaddar, ensuring we had vivid, engaging illustrations for each page as well as the correct file formats. While Bijan finessed the playful imagery, we developed the dedication, a synopsis, and an about the author blurb.

the author bio page from the book, "Why Don't Cats Go to Kindergarten" featuring an image of the five-year-old author and her brief bio over an illustrated image of a school house

Once we’d drafted, edited, and had all the elements approved, we took care of the layout and formatting for both the print and ebook versions, using Lulu and Kindle Direct Publishing. Finally, we looked after all the technical details: assigning an ISBN, selecting categories, setting pricing, and the kazillion little tidbits that come with publishing even a short children’s picture book.

The finished product, we’re proud to report, meets both Holly and Caroline’s standards. Available in hardcover, softcover, and ebook, Why Don’t Cats Go to Kindergarten? is an entertaining, adventurous romp in a style that’s a little reminiscent of iconic children’s author Robert Muncsh — but it’s 100% Holly. Caroline says they go to markets every once in a while and Holly’s book always sells out.

“We’ve had awesome feedback,” she says. “People love Holly and her sales pitch. She’s a local celebrity! People recognize her in the community and she loves it. She wants to create the next one.”



For us, it’s truly rewarding to help writers hone their craft and express their creativity. Working with a five-year-old author was a first for us, but we’d definitely do it again. We’re very proud to play a part in Holly’s first foray into authorhood, and grateful that her mom Caroline trusted us with this incredible project.

As for Holly, there’s no doubt in our minds that she has big things ahead of her. When we asked why she wanted to write this story and what her future plans were, she sounded like she’d been an author for years:

“I want to get the book out there and encourage more young writers to write books. I’m going to write another book: either Why Don’t Killer Whales Go to Grade One? or some other animal book. I have a few ideas.”

Have some ideas of your own? Or maybe there’s a creative young person in your life that’s interested in storytelling or writing and you’d like to give them the experience of becoming a published author. There are no age limits on fun, creativity, or dreams! Get in touch to book a consultation and find out more about how we can help.

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