'Keyboard Kitten' reboots for Oregon adventure

EUGENE, Ore. - The "Keyboard Kitten" came to life for author Bob Welch early one morning last year with unexpected help of his own cat.

"One morning he literally walked across the keyboard, and he started typing letters and numbers and asterisks and such," Welch recalled, "and I said to myself: children's book."

Welch teamed up with his good friend and illustrator Tom Penix, and Comma the kitten's adventures in Oregon began.

One book just wasn't enough.

Comma is back in the sequel, "The Keyboard Kitten Gets Oregonized".

This time Comma forges a friendship with a dog named Rainboy.

"She gets on the back of Rainboy and boom! she flies to Ashland and does some Shakespeare; she goes to the beach and surfs; she goes to pendleton and gets bucked off a bucking bronco and just has some fun with what's going around in the state of Oregon," Welch said.

The book showcases some of the best of what Oregon has to offer.

Comma skis in Bend, talks football with Oregon State coach Mike Riley, surfs on the Oregon Coast and even enjoys a bowl of Mo's clam chowder.

"That's one of the things I love about this book," Penix said. "It gives me a lot of opportunity to just go crazy with color."

His illustrations paired with Welch's easy flowing narrative has created a character young readers are excited about.

Sharing commas adventures at local schools and special events is one of the things the kitten's creators enjoy most of all.

"To see that they really, really love it. They love the story, they like the illustrations and it's a pretty neat experience," Penix said.

"We've invited these children into a little story, and they think it's real," Welch said. "The coolest thing is when they come up and say I'm doing a book of my own, and we've inspired them that way, so - long live the kitten."

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