Monday, September 15, 2014

Review - The Cat and the Wizard

The Cat and the Wizard
by Dennis Lee
illustrated by Gillian Johnson
Date: 2001
Publisher: Key Porter Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

This picture book tells the story of a disgruntled wizard and his unwanted bag of tricks. One day, in a laundromat, he befriends a black cat with a spiffy hat, a heart full of hospitality, and no one to share it with. Together they retire to Casa Loma, where the party begins.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The Cat and the Wizard is cute rhyming story about a wizard who has skills nobody wants and a would-be hostess of a cat who lives in a castle all by herself.  I didn't realize that Casa Loma is a real castle in Toronto... but it is, and that makes reading a story about it all the more interesting.

The whole book is written in rhyming verse, and for the most part, it flows off the tongue quite well.  The wizard has skills of questionable usefulness, but they're awfully fun to read about.  The cat wears a spiffy hat, and seems to be something of a Martha Stewart wannabe.

I have few quibbles with the text itself.  However, I was really disappointed by the illustrations.  I have a hard time believing they were done by an "acclaimed illustrator".  They seemed rough and amateurish to me.  It's a shame, because with really cute illustrations, this could have been a book that I would wholeheartedly recommend.  As it is now, it would be a good book to read aloud to children... but the disappointing illustrations would probably prevent it from being a picture book that kids would want to look at again and again.

Quotable moment:

He carries a bird's nest

That came from the Ark;

He knows how to tickle

A fish in the dark;

He can count up by tens

To a million and three--

But he can't find a home

For his wizardry.

Recommended to: parents who intend on reading the amusing verse aloud to their kids

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.29 out of 5

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