April 26, 2018

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I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein | SLJ Review

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redstarBERNSTEIN, Galia. I Am a Cat. illus. by Galia Bernstein. 32p. Abrams. Feb. 2018. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419726439.

PreS-Gr 2 –A small, plump gray cat, mouth downturned and green eyes cast upward at a row of tall animal legs lined up behind him, is a fine indication of things to come in this humorous introduction to the larger cat family. Simply sketched against blank white pages, each of five large cats stare in disbelief as the small one introduces himself: “Hello, my name is Simon. I am a cat. Just like you!” After a silly moment of group laughter, Lion, Cheetah, Puma, Panther, and Tiger each share a personal exchange with Simon, repudiating his claim. “A cat? Cats are black,’ said Panther. ‘They live in jungles and rain forests and sleep in trees. Have you ever seen a jungle?’ ” Simon has no mane like Lion’s, is not tall and graceful like Cheetah, can’t leap far and act tough like Puma, and isn’t big and orange like Tiger. Having heard all their rebuttals, Simon expresses confusion. Each animal has touted traits not shared by the others. “So how can you all be cats?” Ah, but they all have things in common, too—“small, perky ears and flat noses…long whiskers and long tails…sharp teeth and claws…and big eyes that can see in the dark.” And so Simon wins the argument. “So do I…I have all of those things…only smaller.” Once he’s accepted as part of the family, he joins them in “pouncing and playing, like cats of all sizes do.” The bold humorous figures are digitally drawn and hand colored. VERDICT Bernstein’s debut is fun, well crafted, and promising. The simple text and strong pictures offer an amusing read-aloud for small groups or individual children.–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

This review was published in the School Library Journal December 2017 issue.

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