See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog

Candlewick. Sept. 2020. 64p. Tr $8.99. ISBN 9781536204278.
K-Gr 2–Who is running the show in this delightfully humorous easy reader? The first line of text, large black font on a white verso page, is “See the cat.” On the recto page, a yellow dog proudly declares in speech bubble text, “I am not a cat. I am a dog.” As descriptors of the cat accumulate, dog Max grows more and more indignant until indeed a cat does appear and the text “See the red dog” is paired with red-cheeked Max admitting, “I am so embarrassed.” In the second story, the omniscient narrator begins, “See the snake” as Max resignedly responds, “Here we go again.” The jig is up, however, as Max cleverly averts the dangerous snake by using a pencil to write in a different ending. In the third story, Max takes control by threatening to leave the book when the narrator again tries to manipulate him. Cartoon-style illustrations expertly support a text with repetition and simple sentences. As Max progresses from confused to canny to competent, children will find a reflection of their own reading journey as well as amusement at the metafictive aspect of a dog wrestling with a book.
VERDICT This humorous, self-referential, fourth wall–demolishing easy reader features a dog who seems to be at the mercy of the storyteller—or is he?

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