Friday, April 18, 2008

New Next Week: Someday When My Cat Can Talk by Caroline Lazo

Someday When My Cat Can Talk (Schwartz & Wade) is one of those children’s books that are so beautiful, they make a lasting impression. This is due in no small part to the award-winning duo who wrote and illustrated the book. Caroline Lazo’s books for children have included F. Scott Fitzgerald: Voice of the Jazz Age which was a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book. Illustrator Kyrsten Brooker’s many books have won armloads of awards including an ALA Notable Book (for Precious and the Boo Hag), a School Library Journal of the Year Award (for Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street) and many others.

What those books have and have not done doesn’t matter: Someday When My Cat Can Talk stands alone. This is one of those children’s picture books where you know all elements are working as soon as you touch it. Dig in a bit further and there’s just no looking back.

By itself, the story is engaging. A little girl’s cat has a secret life no one else knows about or can hope to understand. He travels the world, enjoying everything that a globe-trotting kitty might expect to enjoy, then comes home and doesn’t tell his young mistress about his adventures because -- of course -- cats can’t talk.

It’s a sweet and charming story, told in enchanting rhyme. The book even includes a brief but sharp section called “Facts Behind the Story” for readers intrigued by the fun locations who want to learn just a little bit more. Brooker’s skillfully whimsical paintings with strong elements of collage steal the spotlight, though.

Someday When My Cat Can Talk is a lovely book, sure to delight young children, as well as collectors of this type of work.

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