CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005
Caramba longs to be like other cats, but in this book by award-winning writer and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay, other cats can fly. With the help of his friend Portia, a pig, Caramba sets out to learn to fly. He begins by jumping off a small rock, and, when that fails, he leaps off chairs and tries flapping his arms in the wind. Eventually, his cousins Bijou and Bug take hold of Caramba’s paws and, in a twist on learning to swim by jumping in the deep end of the pool, they hope to force him to fly by dropping him high over the ocean.
Caramba is a delightful tale with charming water colour illustrations. Children and adults will empathize with this determined little cat’s attempts to “fit in” with his peers. Some of the humour and twists presented by Marie-Louise Gay, from the Grandfather’s shouting, “Ay, Caramba!” when Caramba leaps off a chair and lands in his lap, to the depiction of flying cats, may be lost on very young readers. Children in the later preschool and kindergarten years should be able to discern and appreciate the stretches of imagination Gay employs. Aside from the delightful story, teachers and parents could initiate a discussion on what is true and what is fictional about cats in this story.
Overall, this is a lovely story about accepting ourselves for our own unique gifts even when we can’t soar in the same way as our peers.
Barb Taylor, who lives in Calgary, AB, teaches Pre-Kindergarten and is a freelance travel-writer.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.