BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, March 13, 2009

Unflappable Cats: Cat by Matthew Van Fleet

Aristocat, alley cat, Cheshire cat, witch!
Swishy cat tails--twitch, twitch, twitch!

Jump cat, roll cat, scratch the tree!
Bored cat. curious cat--CATASTROPHE!

Furry cat, bald cat, wrinkly cat, sleek!
Cats love toys that squeak, squeak, squeak!

Matthew Van Fleet's just published Cat(Simon & Schuster, 2009) is a catalog of cats in action--cats jumping, playing, angling in fishbowls, and showing off their amazing vitality and variety, with surprises hidden under the substantial flaps on each page. A striped cat is caught in the act, breaking a vase in a cat catastrophe; a sturdy pull tab causes cats to swipe at a goldfish and swish their tails in mock frustration. An adorable lop-eared little puss in boots pops up out of yellow Wellingtons. And one flip of a flap shows an indignant cat in the utmost of feline indignity--wet and scraggly in the hated bathtub.

A design which makes full use of the "toy and movable book" genre, this one, like its best-selling predecessor from Van Fleet, Dog, features Brian Stanton's irresistible photos of many breeds of cats doing all those things cats do so well. The book appears virtually indestructible--a rare thing in a flap-and-tab book for toddlers--constructed of thick board with substantial tabs and flap hinges that a tot would have to take a chain saw to to disassemble! There are textures to feel and even an appealing squeaker to push among the many tactile activities within the cover. But the main joys of the book are the under-the-flap surprises which will give kids a laugh while producing a little cause-and-effect learning along the way. The final double-page spread opens up into a four-page gatefold with a portrait gallery of all the cats (with their breeds) featured in the book from which toddlers will enjoy tracing each cat back to his own page. This is a perfect lap book for babies and a great interactive book for toddlers to enjoy on their own as well.

For a quick video of what this little book can do, from cover to cover, there's a preview here.

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