Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Review - They All Saw a Cat

They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel
Date: 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books (CA)
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 44
Format: e-book
Source: library

The cat walked through the world,
with its whiskers, ears, and paws...

In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Here's an example of a book where I love the premise but abhor the execution.

It's not even that I think the illustrations are bad. They're not. It's a really personal, subjective thing. I had visceral reactions of disgust and fear to some of the pictures (and not necessarily the ones from the perspectives you'd expect). I was--and still am--very sensitive to illustrations in books. That's what I tend to remember about them, especially if they've elicited an emotional reaction. It's the reason I don't like David Shannon's David books (that child scares the crap out of me), and why the pictures in Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present still give me the willies. Would I have liked They All Saw a Cat when I was little? I doubt it. It probably would've been banished to the bottom of the stack, ignored until it was time for a return trip to the library.

That said, I think the premise of the book--which is to show how one thing (in this case, the cat) is viewed from lots of different perspectives--is great! It shows kids that there are different perspectives, and the same exact thing might look different to all those viewing it. There could be all kinds of interesting discussions involving this book: "Why do you think the dog sees the cat as a stretched-out monster? Why do you think the skunk sees the cat in black and white?" There's science behind some of the perspectives, and it could be an interesting project to research how some of these different creatures experience vision.

So... would I recommend this one? Yes, but with some words of warning. If your child is really sensitive to pictures, they might find some of the ones in this book disturbing or even scary. That could put them off. Then again, if that sort of thing doesn't bother them, then this would be a great book to teach about the different ways of seeing the world.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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