Santa's Cat: Irish author and illustrator team up for children this Christmas
"It’s always special to be part of things that bring a bit of extra joy into the world."
A new book is hoping to reassure Irish children about Santa's arrival this Christmas.
Written by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Kim Sharkey, Santa's Cat is the story of the big man's dearest fluffy friend, who has helped him prepare for one of his trickiest Christmases ever.
The book has been launched by Littlewoods and is available to download for free, to ensure that as many kids as possible know that Santa is still coming this year.
The concept is cute, fun, tender, and according to Eoin, its origins are also a "secret."
"After all that’s happened this year, it’s been such a wonderful opportunity to be part of something positive," he says. "Littlewoods and Edelmen were very clever to spot the need for this book and I still can’t quite believe how quickly everyone moved to pull it off in time.
"I think Kim must have worked day and night to get the illustrations done, and they look beautiful. A true Christmas miracle!"
When Santa experiences a last-minute wobble on Christmas Eve, his cat is there to remind him that everything is going to be okay. Christmas will be a bit different this year, but it will still be magical and special.
Donegal based Kim says that once she signed onto the project, she was itching to create the images.
"My husband does actually look like Santa Claus so he was perfect inspiration for these illustrations," she says.
"And my constant companion in the studio while working is our cat Tom, he is the cuddliest I have ever known and adores everybody he meets, a perfect representation for Santa’s cat.
"Also my niece, nephew and great-nephew I asked to pose for some of the elf actions, it feels so special to bring my loved ones into the book this way. This year has been so difficult for everybody I feel honoured to have been part of a project like this remembering the heart of Christmas celebrations love and magic!"
The book, available to download in Irish and English, isn't just a heart warming story - it's also a useful tool for helping children to understand why the festive season is going to be a little different this year.
Eoin says that he wanted to write a story that would reassure kids and bring a little bit of extra happiness in the lead up to the festive season.
"There was an inherent sense of humour and tenderness in the brief," he says. "And of course, a little Christmas magic as well. It’s always special to be part of things that bring a bit of extra joy into the world, especially in 2020. And especially at Christmas.
"It’s been a very confusing time for children, who don’t understand all the ins and outs of the pandemic, but who are missing their friends and family," he says.
"It’s important that they all know Christmas will still be full of magic this year."
Santa's Cat is available to download for free here.