The Cat’s Pajamas

From Daniel

I’m a novelist—at least that’s what I call myself sometimes. It’s great to actually be something and to have a name for what you are; it makes life much simpler. Farmer, baker, astronaut, kleptomaniac—it almost doesn’t matter as long as you’re something, and you can tell people what that something is.

The truth is, though, I just like words. I like the way they sound, what they mean, where they come from, and what happens when you put a lot of them together one after the other.

Which brings me to The Cat’s Pajamas.

The Cat’s Pajamas is an illustrated exploration of the etymology of a very common expression, or lingo, which is a great word in and of itself: He thinks he’s the cat’s pajamas! Or (you might say to that special someone), Baby, you’re the cat’s pajamas.

Seriously? The cat’s pajamas? That’s a good thing? Why? Is that something you’re sure you want to be? Who coined this expression? What was his or her intent? These are some of the things I think about when I hear words, especially words like these, words like the cat’s pajamas. And, as a lifelong fan of myth, of folk tales, of inventive storytelling, I assume that behind every crazy, unbelievable fiction there’s something that’s actually real, something that happened, someone who a long time ago and in a land far, far away, did something a lot like that something we imagine today as being purely fantastic, incredible, ridiculous.

I’ll just come right out and say it: I believe there was a time when cats wore pajamas.

How could there not have been? No one says, You’re the dog’s underpants, because dogs never wore underpants. But cats obviously wore pajamas. It’s as clear as day.

I have pictures that prove it. Prove may be too strong a word because, yes, I’ve drawn these pictures. And I continue to draw them. They’re interpretive. They’re authentic reproductions from the imaginary historical record. Does that make them less true than, say, a fossil? Perhaps. Still, I am not an archeological paleontologist. I’m a novelist, one who likes to draw.

This is a book that I want to see in the world. This is a book that should be in the world.

Praise for The Cat’s Pajamas:

Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC: “Daniel Wallace at his best… The Cat’s Pajamas is entertaining, thought-provoking and definitely not just for kids!” “True to the nature of his novel Big Fish, Daniel Wallace does not disappoint with yet another (adorable) tall-tale.”

Ava Grace’s Closet: “It’s become a mainstay at bedtime — and anytime in between.”

Dad of Divas: “A great book… I highly encourage all to share this with your own kids!”

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