Grandfathers often give their grandkids chances to earn money.
Lizzy Dodig’s task was far more challenging than washing the car or raking leaves.
The Lee’s Summit North sophomore is the illustrator of a Christmas book published by her grandfather, T.L. Needham.
Here’s the overview of the tale, Kitty Claus, describe on Amazon.com: “A snowy Christmas Eve a fierce cat named Kitty Claus rules over a family of starving mice. Until a frightful crisis for the ferocious Kitty Claus is resolved when the father mouse rescues him from danger and transforms their adversity into a new bond of mutual friendship. This is a little story-poem of transformation, courage, and righteous behavior that generates the most positive outcome.”
The book is an illustrated version of a story Needham published as part of a collection of poetry “Pesky Poems” in 2011.
Needham is a Kansas City native now living in Chicago. He was publisher of Relocation/Realty UPDATE news magazine during the 1980s and 90s and publisher of Kansas City Parent magazine. His memoir “When I was a Child” was a finalist by USA Book News Best Books Award in the History-USA category.
Lizzy said her grandfather asked her about illustrating the book at a time she was enrolled in a Chinese language class. She wanted to raise money for a school trip to China.
She, her parents and Needham signed a contract spelling out her responsibility, her parents and Needham’s.
That money paid for the trip, which was “really cool,” Lizzy said.
She started working on the illustrations about this time last year and finished in May.
She and her grandfather worked together, breaking down the poem into individual pages, she talked over ideas with him, first making sketches on self-stick notes so she could line them up and keep a sense of they fit together with the story.
Michael Dodig, her father, said the book has been getting good reviews on Amazon.com and was in its first mass printing. As a self-published project, at first it was made available using technology that can print individual copies, but as demand grew more copies were made by conventional printing, he said.
The book is also available as e-books on Kindle and Nook.
Some pages took a couple of hours, Lizzy said, others took nearly a day.
Lizzy’s ambition is to be an animation artist or in cartooning, a dream job would be as a storyboard artist.
“My main goal is to work for Pixar,” Lizzy said.
Getting the pages done to meet deadlines was the most stressful, she said.
“I’m kind of a perfectionist. It was kind of tough, trying to make the scenes as I liked them.”
She’s donated signed copies to Richardson and Underwood elementary schools, Lee’s Summit schools she had attended.
One copy she’s keeping for herself. The one autographed by her grandfather with a note saying how well they’d done.