What's New, Pussycat?

Article excerpt

Lucy Goes to the Country (Alyson Wonderland, $15.95)

John Canemaker and Joseph Kennedy talk about their children's book and their life together

What makes a family? Lucy Goes to the Country adds one definition: the loving familial bond between gay men and their pets. Bright, light, and cheerful, Lucy nevertheless ventures into new territory for children's books, and author Joseph Kennedy and his lover---the book's illustrator, animator John Canemaker--planned it that way.

"Joe and I have talked about doing a children's book for some time," says Canemaker from the Manhattan apartment the couple shares with the real Lucy, a friendly feline they rescued from the ASPCA a dozen years ago. "But we wanted to tell a story that made a statement."

Kennedy, a freelance writer, and Canemaker, one of the world's foremost authorities on animation history and chairman of the animation program of New York University's film school, settled on a moral that resonates with both of them. "Lucy's message is that there are all kinds of families," Canemaker says. "The definition of family has changed, and kids need to know that before they go out into the world today."

Lucy is drawn as a caustic kitty, for ever rolling her big yellow eyes and tossing off asides about her "two Big Guys," who in real life have been a couple for 26 years. …


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