About two-and-a-half dog years ago, Mary and Kirby met at a writing conference led by Jane Yolen. Right away they discovered many things in common: they both had cats, sweet tooths, and a passion to write books for children. Since that first meeting, the two friends have written many books on their own. Mary's titles include Hannah and Jack, Mary Veronica's Egg, Orange Cat Goes to Market, and the forthcoming
The Famous Nini: The Mostly True Story of a Plain White Cat Who Becomes a Star! Kirby's titles include Hattie Big Sky, a 2007 Newbery Honor book, and The Magic Kerchief.

Two years ago, they decided to try collaborating on a book. They were pretty sure the story would involve animals but that was all they knew. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Mary watched CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 and learned about Bobbi and Bob Cat. "When I saw that interview," said Mary, "I knew the Bobbies' story of friendship and survival was a story of hope for all of us."

She called Kirby right away. "It was easy to say yes," said Kirby. After going to Louisiana and Mississippi to help with clean-up and rebuilding efforts, "I wanted to use my writing skills to bring attention to the overwhelming needs of the Gulf coast region," she said.

Both Mary and Kirby agree that the story of Bobbi and Bob Cat, animal best friends, was the perfect one for them, human best friends, to tell.

The authors are generously donating ten percent of their proceeds to Best Friends Animal Society.

Find out more about Kirby and her other books by visiting www.kirbylarson.com and www.hattiebigsky.com.

For more about Mary and her other books, please visit www.marynethery.com.

New Orleans-based artist Jean Cassels has illustrated over 60 books about natural history for children. With the help of her three dogs (who are usually in a pile under her feet), her favorite things to draw and paint are animals--mammals, insects, birds, fish, reptiles--even spiders.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, Jean and her husband packed up their car with important papers, a few clothes, and their dogs, then left, wondering how their home and New Orleans would look when they returned. It was six weeks before they were allowed to return to the city, and a few months before they could move back into their house--and they were considered some of the more fortunate residents.

"In the three years since Katrina, residents of New Orleans and volunteers from all over the world have worked together helping New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast recover," said Jean. "So much has been accomplished, but there is still much to be done."

When Jean's editor asked if she'd be interested in illustrating a true story of Katrina about a dog and a cat that had been found and rescued together in New Orleans, Jean immediately said YES. She drove to the motel where Bobbi and Bob Cat were first discovered and took photos of the building and the surrounding area. She referenced the "Celebration Station" that had been setup by Best Friends and other national rescue groups--a temporary home for displaced pets waiting to be reunited with their owners or to go new homes. And she studied lots of pictures of Bobbi and Bob Cat.

"I put my heart into Two Bobbies, wanting to share the story of Katrina, New Orleans, and these two amazing animals," said Jean. "Just like Bobbi and Bob Cat received another chance for a wonderful bright future, I think New Orleans does, as well."

For more about Jean and her other books, visit www.jean-cassels.com. 



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