Sunday 13 February 2022

That Cat

That Cat by Jacqueline Harvey, illustrated by Kate Isobel Scott (Puffin Books) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9781761040702

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Harvey used to be a teacher and her latest book is illustrated by a successful artist she once taught! She writes, on the back cover, ‘Kate could be a bit of a Chat Cat in the classroom, but she was never a Brat Cat.’ This is Scott’s debut children’s book and Harvey’s 49th.

Here is a picture book which will have immense appeal to cat-lovers: every page features cats, even the fly pages which show (in pencil) sketches of all kinds of (upright) cats from police officers to hungry cats to a mother cat holding the hand the hand of her cat child.

The narrator of the story – a large ginger cat -- starts by saying, ‘All over the country I meet lots of interesting cats. Cats of all shapes and sizes, in my different disguises.’ Yes, it’s a rhyming picture book with sparse text. The protagonist then meets cats in places such as a TV studio, on the road being followed (Pied Piper- like) by a swarm of rats, and outdoors, with a magnifying glass searching for clues. There’s a bat cat, a mat cat, even a brat cat (a kitten in a grocery trolley having a tantrum).

The illustrations are bright, with the reader being rewarded by checking out each page carefully. There’s a mouse (mostly) hidden on every page – for example, the hat cat page has the mouse eating an apple core in a woman’s wide-brimmed hat, and another doing yoga on a mat with a studio filled with stretching cats.

‘That cat’ from the book’s title is shown on the final page, stretching out on a sofa – with a mouse, of course.

This amusing book is for cat-loving children aged 3 to 5 years.

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