Companion animals bring comfort and friendship to many in these stressful days of lockdown and social isolation. Pets are a very immediate way of bringing nature back into our lives even in constrained circumstances.
I have written a story for children about the relationship between a foundling kitten we named Nougat and our old cat Ned, himself a rescued feral cat. Ned helped us raise Nougat by being an exemplary “foster mother”. Although Ned helped us raise several kittens over the years, kittens who we either adopted or fostered before finding them permanent homes, his relationship with Nougat was extra special.
The story Nougat the Kitten finds Ned the Caring Cat developed around some of the photographs taken of Nougat and Ned, from when Nougat first arrived at about 10 days old and over the next few weeks. As many of the photos were taken in low light they are very grainy. I salvaged them by giving them a pictorial treatment called ‘colour engraving’ using the Photoscape editing software.
These illustrations record Nougat’s first few weeks and his relationship with Ned, and they form the basis of the story. Once the story was written, I made a small booklet titled Nougat the Kitten finds Ned the Caring Cat.
The front cover of the book
The title page
The first pages of the story book
There are two ways that you can access this story. One way is to watch the video – narrated by me – which is an audio-visual version of Nougat’s story. The video is just under 6.5 minutes in length and is available on YouTube. See below:
The other way to access the story is to make your own booklet – here is how to do it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to order a free PDF copy that I will send you by email. The PDF document is formatted so it can be printed and made into a simple booklet.
To give you some idea of what making your own booklet will entail here are some details.
I made the small booklet using a home printer and basic tools I had at hand. In the absence of a guillotine paper cutter, I used a set square, a small cutting board and a knife to cut the paper to size. If a cutting board and knife are not available scissors can be used instead.
If you order a copy, the PDF document is laid out to enable back-to-back copying of double page spreads that are printed onto A4 paper that is cut in half and then folded to create the booklet. The booklet when closed is the size of an A5 sheet of paper.
A short line marks the middle of the A4 page where the paper can be cut in half with the aid of setsquare and cutting knife
Cut along the edge of the set square using a cutting knife and cutting board. If you do not have a knife and board draw a line along the edge of the setsquare and use scissors to cut along the line
Fold each page in half and flatten the fold to a sharp crease with something smooth like the barrel of a pen. Once all the pages are folded nest them inside each other and then check to make sure the pages are folded the right way and are in numerical order (each page is numbered)
Hand sewing with needle and thread or a sewing machine can be used to stitch the spine in two places on the centre crease to secure the pages together. Close the booklet after stitching and use the barrel of a pen to press the spine fold flat
As the page edges will not be quite flush, the edges can be trimmed using the setsquare and cutting knife
And that’s it. You now have a little story book to share with the children in your life. Pictured above are the front and back of the booklet
So, to reiterate, if you would like to print your own copy and make your own booklet, please email me at email@example.com to request a free PDF copy of the story book. I will email it to you with additional information on how to print the pages in the correct order.
I hope that the story of Nougat and Ned will bring some good cheer to children who are confined at home during this period of social isolation.
Posted by Carol