How to Give Your Cat a Bath: in Five Easy Steps

illus. by John Martz. 40p. Tundra. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735263543. POP
PreS-Gr 2–In this playful take on an instruction manual for kid cat owners, an unidentified narrator struggles to guide a pink-haired girl with pigtail buns on how to bathe her cat, Mr. Flea. Of course, what the narrator believes should be a simple, five-step task easily evolves into 10 increasingly complicated steps with humorous detours, like Mr. Flea going into hiding, milk and cookie breaks for the tired cat owner, and a soggy mess from an overflowing bathtub. The story's visual presentation is charming on many levels. Lots of negative space balances each spread, and helps highlight Martz's entertaining, digitally colored ink drawings. Plus, the thoughtful use of fonts serves as a valuable storytelling aid. For example, the narrator's businesslike personality is represented by easy-to-read, basic fonts, while the use of a handwritten font in stretchy speech bubbles gives voice to the pink-haired girl. These details result in a pleasing and well-executed story that really is the cat's meow.
VERDICT An excellent choice for independent reading and sharing in small groups.

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