The summary on the copyright page of Tessa's Tip-tapping Toes reads: "Inspired by the rhythm of the rain, a mouse that loves to dance and a cat with a penchant for singing find that they can no longer control their impulses."
I don't know who wrote that, but whoever it was really got it right! I HATE controlling my impulses. When people say "calm down," "be quiet," or, my all-time least favorite, "shhh," I find myself wanting to SHOUT just to bug them. I can't help it. I have a severe silly streak and hate all the wet blankets out there who are set on reforming people like me.
And yes, I do love dancing and singing and I don't care where the heck I am when I'm doing it. I especially enjoy singing and dancing while I'm driving, which is a good reason to steer clear of me on the road. I play a mean air guitar, if I do say so myself.
The inspiration for this story came to me a few years ago as I was walking from my garage to my house. I spotted a mouse that had obviously been hurt and was doing this jitter-buggy walk. My first thought was, "It looks like she's dancing!" My second thought was, "Boy, is that dangerous." I knew that any self-respecting cat would see that funny little dance and immediately pounce on that poor mouse. Well, by the time I had walked the twenty-five yards to my back door I had the entire story in my head. Two billion revisions later I sold it to my editor.
Can I just tell you how much I LOVE the illustrations for this book? Tessa is such a lively little thing, and Oscar is simply hysterical. When I saw the rich, intense colors Marsha Gray Carrington used I wondered if she had somehow sneaked into my office when I wasn't looking.
And Marsha, if you did do that, could you maybe tidy up a bit next time before you leave?