________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 17. . . .January 8, 2010.


Where Does Your Cat Nap?

Jean Freeman. Illustrated by Val Lawton.
Regina, SK: Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, 2009.
32 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-894431-39-2.

Subject Heading:
Cats-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.





I’m a cat...

... and I sleep wherever I want to!

Can you guess
where I like to sleep best?

For the past 15 years, my wife and I have been the personal servants of Lord Cyrus of Lithadora, who has been a most demanding master indeed. Lest you think that we have moved to some drafty English estate to attend to the needs of a doddering member of the British House of Lords, let me assure you that we’re still in our modest Winnipeg house. No, his lordship is actually a 10 kg. British Shorthair cat that moved into, and then assumed control of, our home. Because he’s a purebred, he required the lengthy “official’ name, one which we commoners have simply, and impertinently, shortened to Cyrus. “Why the long (and personal) introduction to a book review?” you might ask. Well, it’s my wordy way of saying that Where Does Your Cat Nap? is definitely a book with which cat owners (I know - that term is an oxymoron) will immediately identify, and one which will cause them to pause and consider the various places in which their own feline companions elect to nap. Given that cats (using ours as the model) seem to spend at least 90 percent of their day in a prone position, with the rest of their time being distributed among the activities of eating, grooming and using the litter box, then finding napping locations, especially the most favored spot, is a significant aspect of their lives.

     internal artFreeman’s brief text, which consists of rhyming couplets, suggests various locales in and around a cat’s home where it may choose (or not choose) to snooze. Again, two-legged cat companions will recognize some of the cats’ napping venues, such as a cardboard box, a flowerbed and a pillow on a bed.

     Eagle-eyed review readers may have noticed that I used the plural possessive “cats’” in the last sentence and thought I made grammatical error. No, I deliberately chose the plural possessive to reflect how Lawton has elected to illustrate Freeman’s words. While Freeman has written in the first person from a particular cat’s perspective, Lawton has appeared to pick up on the second person “your” in the book’s title. Consequently, the numerous cats, all illustrated in Lawton’s cartoon-like style, reflect a range of pure and mixed cat breeds. A positive of Lawton’s approach is that it certainly universalizes the book’s contents by providing young readers with more opportunities to recognize their own cat. Negatively, however, younger readers (listeners) could possibly become confused and require some adult intervention to understand why the tortoiseshell cat on the cover and dedication page becomes a tabby on the first text page and then morphs into numerous other varieties of cats throughout the remainder of the text. Even returning to the same cat, the one who asked the initiating question (see “excerpt” above), in the closing pair of question-answering illustrations might have provided better closure (in Piagetian terms).

     According to a blurb about the illustrator, Val Lawton’s Calgary home is sans cats, but she has obviously researched them well for her illustrations accurately capture the seeming boneless fluidity of cats’ bodies, and her illustration of a cat chinning its “owner” is spot on.

     A fine home and library purchase.


Dave Jenkinson lives in Winnipeg, MB, where he editsCM when not tending to Cyrus’s every need.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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