Saturday, November 20, 2010

What is Critterpalooza?

Yesterday, Angela Ackerman mentioned Critter, the unofficial mascot of the kidlit community. Today, we went to the source of the traveling mascot idea... 

...and got the skinny on this chubby little cow...

Picture from Jacqui's adventure Taming the Critter
(Apparently, he's quite the junk food addict...ahem...
not like any of the Operation Awesome ladies...)

Katrina: Christy, what inspired you to send Critter out into the world, and what does he represent?

Christy: At first Critter started out as an interactive way to connect with my writing blog-buddies . . . like a Flat Stanley for writers.  When his travels were over I intended to use him as an inspirational muse-like decoration piece for my writing space.

It wasn’t until after the Haiti earthquake that Critter’s purpose changed.  It touched me deeply to see authors and illustrators auctioning their services and personal items (like shoes) to help those in need.  I wanted to do something, too, but I didn’t have the money or the influence to bring in the type of money that’s needed to make a real difference. Certainly no one was going to pay good money to buy my stinky shoes on e-bay.

Finally, it hit me!  I may not have fame or mucho-millions but I do have Critter.  At the time of the Haiti earthquake he had just started his journey, but already he had met so many interesting people and traveled so far.  My conscience wouldn’t allow Critter to be merely a muse on my desk.  I knew he could do some good in the world. 

Haiti had an obvious need, but since Critter still had a long way to go until his travels were complete, I decided to choose a charity that would always have needs.  Everyone who has hosted Critter is related to children’s literature. A children’s charity seemed a natural fit. Coupled with the fact that I have a daughter with a chronic kidney problem that will most likely require a transplant one day, I have a special empathy for families that deal with issues related to sick children.  I learned that St. Jude has a daily (let me say it again) DAILY operating budge of 1.5 million dollars. Most, if not all of it, comes through donations. 

Critter represents a thread that unites people around the globe, and the fact that you don’t need to be rich and famous to make a difference. Sometimes you just need to be a little creative in learning how to leverage the resources within your grasp.  Not to mention, he’s a good reminder of what can be done when people work together for a common goal. 

Katrina: Wow. This silly little cow has a serious purpose! We’ve been following his adventures on facebook and throughout the writerly blogosphere, but what do you think has been his greatest adventure thus far?

Christy: He has traveled to South Korea, been chased by dinosaurs, outrun a tsunami, crowd surfed at a concert, boated in the Virgin Islands, had his own maximum security in Vegas, been interviewed by the Texas Sweetheart’s... He did so many things and met so many people.  It’s hard to choose!

Katrina: Is Critter a he or a she? LOL. I had to ask because of the giant udder in front. ;) 

Christy: That is a good question.  The udder would naturally make one think “female” however the blue color and fangs makes “him” look more male-ish.  Though we tend to call Critter a “him” I don’t really know for sure. You see, Ian Sands created his critters to be mixed up animal creations.  He calls them “newimals”.   So, honestly, I think Critter is a mixture of all sorts and represents all mankind (and animal kind :0D )

Katrina: Ah, and now I am intrigued about Ian Sands' Critter Cube Book! Is the date of the auction to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital set? How long will we be able to bid on Critter, or how will the auction be run?

Christy: My aim is to auction Critter sometime in the first part of December. (just in time to buy the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person) The exact date is yet TBD. 

He will be auctioned on e-bay and it will run for approximately one week. 

Katrina: What is Critter up to right now at this moment? And where should we look for him in the future?

Christy: Angela, at The Bookshelf Muse, still has some fun things in store for Critter. He’ll stay with her during Critterpalooza.  After that he will return to me sometime after Thanksgiving.  

You can follow Critter on my blog at:

Become a fan of Critter on Facebook at:

If you’d like to hear about Critter’s experience through Critter’s eyes, you can visit the Texas Sweethearts interview at: 

Thank you, Christy, for answering our questions, and for extending your creativity to make a tangible difference for children in need.

Operation Awesome peeps, you'll want to click on that top link for a collection of amazing literary giveaways (through tomorrow), including a Skype chat with some pretty freakin' special authors. 

Good luck to everyone who enters. May the real winners be the children at St. Jude's. :)


  1. Thanks for helping me get the word out about Critter and his cause! :0)

  2. Great interview with Christy! Yay Critter!

  3. Great interview! I'll keep my eyes open for Critter. What a terrific cause. :)

  4. Christy, thank you so much for coming to OA to fill us in on this great opportunity to spread the love!!

  5. I didn't know this interview was up--Yay, great job, ladies! I loved hearing Critter's story straight from the source. Thanks so much, both of you. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse


Add your awesome here: