- Darcie Caswell
I was looking at some new picture books recently, and there were two very cute books in the pile featuring cats. It got me thinking about a conversation I had a while ago with a fellow librarian who is a cat lover. She was expressing her disappointment because she felt that cats were underrepresented in children’s picture books. Books featuring dogs seem plentiful, but books with cats are a little harder to find. I don’t know what this means: do people in general really prefer dogs over cats, or is it just children’s book authors and publishers who seem to favor dogs?
I certainly do not want to get in the middle of the perennial cats vs. dogs debate, but I do want to let cat lovers know: do not despair! There is a wide variety of delightful picture books featuring cats, and I have pulled together a list of some of my favorites. Some are funny; some are sweet; some have outstanding illustrations; and all feature cats. As I thought about this topic, it got me thinking that because there is a day for everything, surely there must a National Cat Day, and there is! Feline fans, celebrate your cuddly companions any day, but on October 29, National Cat Day, I suggest you make a special point of grabbing one of these books about cats and inviting a child to enjoy a story with you.
How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure
A big cat coaches a kitten on everything it takes to be a cat. Simple explanations define these skills—pounce, explore, hunt, lick—but some come easy, and some are hard. Bold black-and-white illustrations, expressive faces, and vibrant body language convey the kitten’s wide range of feelings as she practices what it takes to be a cat.
Max the Brave by Ed Vere
Max seems like a sweet, little kitten, but do not be fooled by his looks. He is fearless and brave and chases mice! Of course, chasing mice would be much easier if he knew what they looked like, especially since all the animals he asks point him in the wrong direction. Watch your young readers shout, “No, that is not a mouse!” as they try to help brave (but clueless) Max avoid some precarious situations.
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Kitten sees her first full moon in the sky and believes it to be an inviting bowl of milk. She tries to reach it with her tongue, then by leaping into the air, then by climbing a tree, but she just can’t get it. Finally, she sees it on the ground and pounces, but what a surprise she has when she finds out it is just a reflection.
Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim
A street cat moves from building to building looking for attention but is always chased away. When the cat sneaks onto a bus, it finally finds a warm, cozy spot. When a passenger sits next to the cat, the cat snuggles right in and soon finds itself with a new home.
Thumpy Feet by Betsy Lewin
Thumpy Feet loves eating and playing and bouncing around, but being that energetic can wear a cat out quickly. The solution? A nap, of course! That’s all it takes to get Thumpy Feet back to his frisky self.
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
We all have an idea in our minds of what a cat looks like, but is that what a dog sees when it looks at a cat? What does a cat look like to a goldfish? Or a flea? Or a bird? An array of artistic styles shows us what a cat might look like to other animals and helps readers understand that animals have different perspectives on the world, depending on things such as how big they are, how their senses work, and whether they spend time in the air or on the ground.
This column originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.
Cat Stock Photo from Pixlebay (Free Domain)