Artist Beynette Teaches Manners Through Animals
Torpedo Factory artist Kathy Beynette teaches manners and compassion with a healthy dose of humor in her new children's book, "When Your Porcupine Feels Prickly."
If you meet a ladybug and he’s a man-bug, what do you call him? What do you do if your owl is not as wise as other owls of a similar size?
These questions and others are what swim around the head of artist Kathy Beynette, leap onto paper and now have been put together in a children’s book When Your Porcupine Feels Prickly.
Beynette creates most of her art in Studio 5 of the Torpedo Factory.
“Since I was seven I wanted to make a children’s book,” said Beynette, who studied journalism at American University but turned to creative writing. “I started playing around with illustrating and that took over. I’m putting it all together and doing what I always wanted to do.”
Beynette, a resident of Alexandria’s Hollin Hills neighborhood, said the book celebrates her love of animals and poetry.
“I love animals. I used to worry that there was something wrong in that I love animals so much. They need us,” said Beynette, who always adopts her pets from the Alexandria Animal Welfare League. She currently has two cats, Willie, who she credits for being responsible “for what has happened to me in my career,” and Edith, named after famous French chanteuse Edith Piaf.
In each of the 22 illustrations, one of the animals has a human face. “You’d think this is a book about animals but it’s about you,” she said. The book is about learning, how to handle prickly situations, manners and many other things. She’s currently working on a second children’s book that will take a look at “what we have in common with critters.”
When a Porcupine Feels Prickly is available in her Torpedo Factory studio, the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York, many bookstores and on her publisher’s website, Pomegranate.
It will also be available for purchase during a book signing at her studio on Sunday at 2 p.m. where she will read excerpts, such as:
If your owl seems not as wise
as other owls of similar size,
don’t insist he take a test;
find out what he loves the best.
Teach him in a friendly way
that work we love feels more like play."