An enthusiastic reader teaches his two cats to appreciate books, though it takes extra effort to interest one of them in the endeavor.
Nick is a round-headed, early-elementary-sized, brown-skinned child with a fluff of curly hair and two cats, Verne and Stevenson. All three enjoy frolicking together, but when Nick wants to read, one cat ignores him, and the other sprawls on the volume open in his lap (a habit that will be familiar to cat lovers of all ages). The latter, Verne, a small cat with orange-and-brown stripes and a cheerful disposition, is amenable to Nick’s instruction. “But not Stevenson,” who frowns, runs away, and even hisses. When Nick and Verne discover Stevenson’s fascination with pirates, however, they have the hook they need. Nick’s efforts are both logical and methodical, and once he has achieved his goal, he and his feline friends find ways to incorporate their favorite stories into all kinds of imaginative play. Manley’s conversational text flows smoothly and has a matter-of-fact tone that grounds the fantastical elements. Berube’s charmingly childlike art, created in ink, Flashe paint, and acrylic paint, captures the cats’ personalities perfectly and creates a cozy, everyday world with just enough amusing details to reward repeat readings.
Young listeners of all stripes (and species) will enjoy this warmhearted celebration of literacy and imagination. (Picture book. 3-6)