Matthew Warner

‘Sizzle’ a Foray Into Children’s Books

About this time last year, a baby opossum used to visit our deck to steal cat food. Our boys, then aged 8 and 10, loved it. They nicknamed him Sizzle and enjoyed his interactions with our cats: Moody, Shadow, and Buttercup. We started spinning a yarn about how our cats might help Sizzle find his lost mother. So I wrote it up into a 9700-word novelette for the boys’ amusement. I read it to them one day while their mom dyed their hair — because what else are you going to do during a pandemic lockdown?

I’m not sure where to sell a story of that length for upper-elementary aged children, but the good publisher at MW Publications stepped in to help. You can get the eBook edition of Sizzle: The Cat Hub Adventures, Book 1 for just $1.00. An audiobook edition, narrated by me (in better voices than the ones I used last year) is in the can and should be out soon.

The cover art, featuring a photo we took of Sizzle, and purchase link are attached. Enjoy!


Sizzle, an opossum, and Mama are foraging one day when a man captures Mama. This man, Crackle Fingers, runs a taxidermy business out of his house, and he plans to add Mama to his collection. Sizzle turns to a family of cats for help. Shadow, a talkative black cat, invites Sizzle to eat from the family’s food bowl on a backyard deck. Moody is a senile but kind tabby, and Buttercup is an overweight and overprotective orange cat. In order to befriend the cats and rescue Mama, he’ll have to rely on his intelligence and ingenuity.

Artwork by Deena Warner about the real-life Cat Hub. More info.
Artwork by Deena Warner about the real-life Cat Hub. More info.