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My Best Friend

Do You Have a Cat? by Eileen Spinelli (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers; $16.00; 32 pages)

“A cat who likes to caterwaul is better than no cat at all!”

There’s an old saying that dogs and their owners begin to look like each other.   Well, I may be just a kitten but even I know that’s not true just for dogs…  And this book, Do You Have a Cat?, proves me to be right.   This book shows us – and especially the young humans in the reading audience – that 14 very famous people owned felines (that’s a cat, to you).   And, guess what?   These famous people looked just like their cats and vice-versa!

If you don’t believe me, just look at the swell drawings in this book.   You’ll see that everyone from Cleopatra to Queen Victoria and Charles Lindbergh and Albert Schweitzer and President Calvin Coolidge owned very special cats, all of whom just happened to be the spitting-image of their home owners!   And you’ll learn some very cool stuff, too, like the fact that President Coolidge went on the radio to tell the folks when his cat was lost.   Luckily, for Cal, Tiger was soon found and returned to the White House!

So, I’m a young cat but I know good books.   This one’s as good as a bowl of half-and-half!

Highly recommended.

Sasha (the kitten) Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   Geraldo Valerio is the illustrator of this children’s book, recommended for ages 4 through 8.  

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Like A Tiger

If there’s one thing I know, as an “80 year old” and somewhat mature cat, it’s that children love felines.   They like to call out to us (“Here, kitty!”), pet us, hold us, pick us up and even carry us around.   Sometimes this results in bad consequences, but that’s a story for another day.   The point is, what animal would be better to teach kids about new words and new ideas?   (Quiet, you dogs.)

In the words of humans, this book is full of “illustrations of cats, along with rhyming couplets about them which require the reader to fill in words demonstrating opposites, like tall and short, nice and mean, young and old.”   Maybe they should have included furry and bald!   Up and down?   Anyway, this is a book meant to show the smaller humans – precisely those in the terrible 2 to loveable 5 age group – that some things are like other things and some things are different than other things.   Ouch – that made my head hurt to think about it!

Each page of the book shows all kinds of cats, including ones that look like friends of mine (nice) and ones that are my enemies (not so nice).   All the cats were wonderfully drawn by someone named Ami Rubinger, who may be a big cat himself.   Most little humans will love this book – I think – the way I love Purina’s Party Mix cat treats!   And a lot of big humans, too.   Don’t be surprised if this book turns your family into a bunch of Rhymin’ Simons!

Oh, I’m supposed to tell you that this would make a purr-fectly excellent baby shower gift.   I give this little big book a rating of four paws plus one tail.   Or is that tale?   I get confused, I know that one’s a story and one’s part of me that I use to balance my body with.   One of them, I know, comes in handy when I’m climbing fences.   Oh, sorry…   I’m supposed to be giving you a New York Times Book Review-ish chat-up about the book.   So I’ll pontificate long enough to say that this is one book as good as milk served with cream on top.   Tell your friends but not the dogs…   Yeowk!

Abbeville Kids, $13.95, 28 pages

big cat small cat

This review was written by Munchy the brown Norwegian Forest Cat.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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