FICTION

City Cat

illus. by Lauren Castillo. 48p. Farrar/Frances Foster. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374313210.
COPY ISBN
PreS-K—City Cat travels through Europe, paralleling a human family's vacation. Rhyming verse follows the stray as she hitches rides and wanders through Italy, France, Spain, England, the Netherlands, and Germany. Flags dot the various spreads, giving clues to the locations, which are further described in the endnotes. Lyrical verse follows an interesting rhyming scheme and incorporates rich vocabulary, and lush illustrations capture the atmosphere of each location with plenty of details to invite close study. Children will enjoy the fanciful adventures of this intrepid feline as she explores rooftops, bridges, and ancient ruins, especially when compared to the rather boring, grounded meanderings of the human tourists. However, not much happens in the story and the connection between the cat and the family is not clear. Overall, this is a pretty book for armchair travelers and cat lovers.—Suzanne Myers Harold, formerly at Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
A small smoky-gray cat follows a family on its trip through Europe. She hitches rides, cadges food, and invites herself behind the scenes. Banks's text is confident and rhythmic, dotted with rhymes and half-rhymes that bounce off the tongue. Castillo's drawings capture both the grandeur of great cities and their human dynamism. An appended spread identifies the cities and the sights.
A small smoky-gray cat follows a family on its trip through Europe. She hitches rides, stows away on boats, cadges food, and invites herself behind the scenes. As is the way of cats, she makes herself supremely comfortable wherever she is, whether bathing in a Parisian fountain or picking her way across the roof of Gaudi's Casa Batllo in Barcelona. Castillo's drawings capture both the grandeur of great cities and their human dynamism as people cycle, shop, work, rush, parade, dress up, and even play the tuba. In each picture, we look for the family, and the family looks for the cat. Banks's text is confident and rhythmic, dotted with rhymes and half-rhymes that bounce off the tongue. "She sits on piers with perked-up ears / and gazes out to sea." The words pass the read-it-again test with flying colors. A well-traveled child, armchair or otherwise, will spot Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. For all the rest, an appended spread, both child- and cat-oriented, identifies the cities and the sights, and a map lets us trace the family's eight-city journey. sarah ellis

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