CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 37. . . .May 24, 2013
Youngsters first met this pair of household pets in Up Dog and Up Cat, two board books which established the duo’s somewhat mischievous canine and feline qualities. Dog Comes Too and Cat Comes Too offer another perspective on the two animals, one that connects the pair in another way to the humans in their lives.
Dog Comes Too finds the little canine being invited to join its human on a hike in the outdoors. Though the human’s legs allow her/him to easily traverse the terrain, the small dog finds many sections of the journey to be “too” wide, high, deep, wet, scary, narrow, far, hot, or tiring, and each challenge requires the dog to put forth a “big” effort, whether it be to jump, scramble, swim, shake, run, squeeze or rest. However, the “two friends” do make it to the top of the hill “together”.
Cat is also involved in a journey, but this one occurs within the house when the cat’s human goes up to the attic. Mosz’s illustrations suggest that the little cat hasn’t really been invited along but has just taken advantage of the opportunity to sneak up there and satisfy its curiosity. While curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, it does eventually lead it to a basketful of trouble. Along the way, the cat repeatedly gets into some “too” situations that require some “little” responses. For example, while clinging to a hanging bag that is “Too swingy”, the cat can only escape by taking a “Little drop”, one that finds it falling into a box. When the cat is later “Too snoopy”, it has a “Little tumble” into a clothes-filled basket. “Too little...To get out”, the cat begins to meow, and its repeated plaintive cries alert the human to the cat’s presence in the attic and, in particular, the basket. In lifting the cat out of the basket, the human discovers what brought her/him to the attic in the first place – a blouse/shirt.
As Hutchins did in the earlier two books, she again employs a brief, repeating text with “Too” and “Big” or “Little” appearing on most pairs of facing pages. In terms of Mosz’s illustrations, because the actions of Dog Comes Too occur outside, the backgrounds are significantly more detailed than those in Cat Comes Too. Youngsters will also find it easier to visually follow dog’s linear journey than they will the cat’s constrained and somewhat convoluted attic travels. Obviously the cat is not an active mouser as Mosz has added an unmolested purple mouse to most of the illustrations in Cat Comes Too. Because Mosz’s illustrations only reveal the humans essentially from the knees down, their genders can be assigned, if necessary, by the books’ readers.
The closing three alliterative lines of text in Dog Comes Too reinforce the bond between pet and owner.
On the other hand, while the cat’s activities reinforced the notion of cats being curious, the concluding line, “Never too little to help”, while essentially accurate in its message (and, perhaps, reassuring to young readers/listeners), is actually disconnected from the cat’s actions. The help the cat delivered was by accident, not by intention.
Both Dog Comes Too and Cat Comes Too are worthy additions to the shelves of libraries that serve the toddler crowd.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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