Is That a Cat?

Is That a Cat? illus. by Tim Hamilton. 32p. Holiday House. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823433841; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823434817.
PreS-Gr 2—A bored house cat looking for a playmate sees a curved object outside his window that could be a cat's tail. But a turn of the page reveals it is the handle of an umbrella carried by an elf hoping for rain. What appears to be rain is shown on the next page to be a crying bear looking for his boot. The pattern continues with a new question and visual puzzle on each spread that requires the reader to turn the page to find the answer. The group of animal and human searchers increase, and they eventually find a boy in a small backyard pool looking for kids to party with him. Although the characters don't find what they seek, a pool party makes for a happy ending. The simple text written in large print is easy enough for beginning readers to decode. Hamilton's jagged drawings, created with pen and ink, watercolor, and digital tools, feature misshapen characters who clunk across the page.
VERDICT A fun concept that doesn't quite hit the mark.

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