Wellington native Catherine Chen, a recent college graduate, spent her extra time during the lockdown completing her first book, Smores: My Fat Guinea Pig, which debuted on Dec. 30 of last year on Amazon.com.
“This is a children’s book about my sister’s pet guinea pig,” Chen explained. “The drawings are in black and white, so it’s a story and a coloring book. It’s intended for kids from 3 or 4 years old through 8 to 10 years old.”
The whimsical drawings are not what one might expect of coloring book illustrations. They are much more detailed than typical coloring books in the delightful tales of Smores’ adventures with two friends, Cupid and Teddy.
“The children who have seen it so far seem to really like it, and I’m pretty excited,” Chen said. “The paperback is just $5.99, and the Kindle version is $2.99.”
A recent graduate from the University of Southern California in the creation of animation and digital arts, Chen wants to work in the animation industry. “I want to draw and make stories that are a mix of writing and drawing,” she explained.
Chen, 23, grew up in Wellington. “I’ve spent my whole life here. I went to Binks Forest Elementary School, Bak Middle School of the Arts and Dreyfoos School of the Arts,” she said.
Chen completed the book, which she plans on being the first in a series, during the last few days of 2020. “I always wanted to create children’s content and picture books,” she said.
The budding author had a special audience in mind when she was working on the book. “I have a 10-year-old little sister named Rosalyn, and I created it for her,” Chen said. “The story is about how much we love the guinea pig and her personality.”
Chen noted the family’s affection toward the pet, despite Smores seeming indifference for the family itself. “She doesn’t care much about anything except food,” Chen admitted.
But in the book, Smores has a big personality.
“It’s supposed to be funny,” Chen said. “There are a lot of funny images for children to laugh at.”
There are images of Smores doing a big stretch or curled up relaxing. “It is intended for kids to enjoy,” she said.