A Parisian tale inspired by a real-life feline.
An unnamed black-and-white cat is given to a (mostly unseen) girl as a gift. Balloons, ribbons and confetti suggest a birthday may be involved, but the focus shifts immediately to the cat as he inspects his new surroundings and makes himself at home. In a series of nearly wordless panels, he checks out cozy spots to nap, perch or hide and experiments with climbing. First it’s furniture (the bathroom sink, an armoire), then he ventures outside and jumps from the balcony to the neighboring roof and beyond. The cityscape reveals that the cat lives in Paris, which may or may not resonate with young readers, depending on whether they recognize the Eiffel Tower. A chance encounter with a pigeon results in an accident that wounds the cat’s pride and curbs his excursions until a second unexpected meeting with an avian interloper restores his sense of adventure. Small touches of humor reward careful observation. Mader’s use of multiple panels interspersed with double-page spreads provides a sense of momentum, but the brevity of the text can feel choppy, particularly when paired with the relatively static pastel illustrations.
Despite believable action and attractive pictures, this feels more like an amusing anecdote than a full-fledged adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)