Appealing illustrations and a cheerful, rhythmic text turn a (potentially) slight oddity into a quirky charmer.
Old Robert is a fan of routine. He sails each day, docks each night, serves himself the same supper each evening and enjoys tallying “the regular things in their regular place.” His apparently mundane world, however, includes animals that wear clothes and talk as well as a few that appear to be simply pets. Old Robert makes the acquaintance of three of the former and one of the latter, all cats. Each approaches him, looking for a place to belong. For some reason, the acquisition of the final feline, a small cat with “sea green eyes” spurs Old Robert to eschew his normal habits and set sail at night, below a full and glowing moon. Most listeners, though, won’t worry too much about the whys or even the whats. They’ll be caught up in the incantatory list of Old Robert’s touchstones: “Clean socks / a clock / my ship in the slip at the dock…” and poring over Jutte’s crisp, comical pictures, created in ink, watercolor and acrylic. Dream sequences are particularly pleasing, with smiling socks and marching dishes, and the cats are utterly beguiling whether dancing daintily in a pink dress, strumming a ukulele and wearing a green fedora, juggling spoons or simply snuggling.
An entertaining voyage of imagination with engaging, eccentric companions. (Picture book. 3-6)