Manley, Curtis. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats To Read. illus. by Kate Berube. 32p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481435703.
PreS-Gr 2 –Book-loving Nick teaches his cats, Verne and Stevenson, to read in this debut picture book. Nick loves spending time with his cats, but he notices that they seem bored every time he pulls out a book. He decides that teaching them to read will not be too difficult, and quickly makes flash cards with some easy words on them. Though Verne struggles at first, he begins to show interest, but Stevenson remains unenthusiastic. Verne quickly becomes a proficient reader, but Stevenson starts to withdraw more and more when Nick tries to make him read (“ ‘F-I-S-H. See? Fish! Verne loves that word. Don’t you?’ But Stevenson said, ‘Meow!’ and ran under the porch. He hissed at Nick and Verne.”). Once Nick discovers a treasure trove of pictures, drawn by Stevenson, he realizes that he simply wasn’t using the right approach with Stevenson. With a nod to Treasure Island, the author reveals that Stevenson is most interested in being a pirate. Soft acrylic drawings show the right amount of emotion on Nick’s face and on the felines’ as well. VERDICT This quirky tale filled with subtle humor makes a fun read-aloud, especially for cat lovers, literacy lovers, or anyone looking for a great story.
This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2016 issue.