ZAT CAT! by Chesley McLaren


A Haute Couture Tail
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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McLaren, who illustrated Shana Corey’s delicious You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer (2000) may have a somewhat harder time finding an audience for this one. Her feline hero is a scruffy stray in Paris, and his tale is told in rhyme sprinkled with slightly fractured French (translation and pronunciation provided on each page). He leads his life in the Jardin Luxembourg and hangs around posh hotels, while maids and guards occasionally give chase. When Monsieur Pierre’s fashion show opens at Le Grand Salon, however, Cat sneaks backstage and, terrified, claws and rips the collection to shreds. But the show must go on, so the models slink out in their frayed frocks, and voilà! It’s a great success. The cat, christened Etoile, appears on the cover of Vogue, and everyone takes to shredding their dresses. McLaren has a vivacious and insinuating line, and her gouache drawings are predominantly black, rose, and red. They fairly burst from the page, full of joie de vivre as she sketches wonderful couture gowns, supercilious designers, and flower-filled rooms and streets. However, it is hard to see just what child appeal there might be, although adults (this is dedicated to those who “love Glamour, Paris & pink”) of the female persuasion may be charmed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-27316-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2002