Pittsburgh the inspiration for new children's tale 'Stop Thief!'

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The new children's book "Stop Thief!" (Roaring Brook Press) takes Randall McCoy around to spots in a fantasy city whose images were inspired by Pittsburgh as he pursues a thief who snatched his stuffed animal best friend, Mr. Pigglesworth.

It's written and illustrated by London-born Adam J.B. Lane, who grew up in Point Breeze but now lives in Boston. He'll be here 7-9 p.m. Thursday for a book signing in the gallery of the ToonSeum, Downtown.

Many of the locations in the book, Mr. Lane says, were inspired by "some of my favorite places in the Steel City -- the Highland Park zoo, Carnegie Museum, Kennywood (though it evolved in the book into a more traditional carnival)." There's also a chocolate factory, which was inspired by the "lovely chocolately smells" over Point Breeze from the former National Biscuit Co. (Nabisco) on Penn Avenue. The book also includes the classic view of the Golden Triangle as seen from Mount Washington. He took some liberties, of course, with the Downtown buildings.

Mr. Lane also wanted to include a female mayor, and who better than one who resembles former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff "with a dash of another American ex-mayor, Wasilla, Alaska's own Sarah Palin, for some spice."

This is his second picture book; his first was "Monsters Party All Night Long," published by Chronicle.



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