Wednesday 13 October 2021

Cat Dog

Cat Dog by Mem Fox, illustrated by Mark Teague (Puffin) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9781761045868

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

A new book by Mem Fox is highly anticipated by readers of her more than 40 books including classics such as Possum Magic, Where is the Green Sheep? and Koala Lou. The cover of her latest is certainly eye-catching with appealing pictures of a dog and cat checking out each other. On the inside title page, both of them are looking curiously at a small mouse. ‘So there was a scary dog, right?’ reads the first sentence. From then on, the positions of cat and dog change on the lounge, as does the mouse which grows bigger and bigger as the reader ventures further into the story. Questions are asked. And answered – with either ‘Yes!’ or ‘No!’ All through the book the dog appears disinterested in the shenanigans of the other animals until it finally wakes up and barks. Then there’s a glorious double-spread with cat and dog staring at the reader (and the mouse).

Without the brilliant illustrations, the book’s text might seem ordinary, but Fox is lucky to share the talents of Teague who has obviously observed dogs and cats and knows them intimately. On the other hand, Fox’s use of questions – and answers – is sure to have young readers being read to by parents, teachers, or carers – calling out ‘Yes!’ or ‘No!’ This, of course, is the mark of a clever, interactive picture book.

Cat Dog is ideal for children aged 3+ years.

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