CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 11. . . .November 12, 2010
That Cat Can't Stay.
Thad Krasnesky. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Brooklyn, NY: Flashlight Press, 2010.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4?8.
Review by Reesa Cohen.
When Mom brought home a stray one day,
Dad said, "That creature cannot stay.
There is no use begging.
Don't say please.
I don't like cats.
They scratch my knees.
And I don't want to have to shout,
so kindly put that cat-thing out
This delightful, clever story opens with Mom, dripping wet, holding a scruffy, very wet, sad-looking cat! Though Dad pronounces that cat has to go, the wise and crafty mother knows just how to handle her stubborn husband. She agrees to put the cat outside in the bad weather, even though he will get drenched. Softhearted Dad relents with specific instructions.
.... but NO ONE pet him! DO NOT play!
My mind's made up.
That Cat can't stay
And the pattern for this comic and energetic story is set. The rest of the family continues to find the most pathetic, yet adorable strays cats, with Dad's reasons and objections to the cats, growing in numbers. He reacts to each new additional cat with litany of new hilarious reasons why he doesn't like cats.
They scratch my knees! They carry flees. They make me sneeze.
His long-winded protests are no match for his cat-loving family who find four stray cats and manage through some cunning to appeal to Dad's compassionate side. In the end, Dad finds his own surprise stray.
The repetitive and catchy rollicking text is meant to be read-aloud and will have kids participating in the rhythmic refrains. The story features some wonderfully rich and expressive vocabulary for young readers. This playful text is perfectly complemented by hilarious, comical illustrations that capture the charming story. They are rendered in pen, ink and watercolour. Most noteworthy are the facial expressions of Dad as we see a him slowly resigning to his family's wishes. And the colourful, animated cats are just a hoot! The exuberant artwork partnered with a spirited text makes That Cat Can't Stay a winner!
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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