Can Pig and Cat’s friendship endure when Dog appears on the scene?
Many early readers include an odd-couple pair of friends whose interactions create the central drama of the plot. Not so in Florian’s latest offering: Pig and Cat enjoy all the same things, and they enjoy doing them together. Rather than presenting a clash due to individual differences, Florian boosts the tension when Pig befriends Dog and leaves Cat in the dust. The text reads, “Cat is all alone. / Cat is sad,” while accompanying crayon-and–colored-pencil illustrations use expressive techniques to isolate Cat and visually convey its sadness. The consciously childlike illustrations succeed in communicating emotion and offer many whimsical details that provide visual interest, but they may prove a bit busy for those working to find and decode the limited, controlled text on the pages, which seems aimed at the very newest of readers. This concern aside, readers of all abilities will grasp the story’s happy ending: although Pig doesn’t prove to be a terribly sensitive or attentive friend, Dog notices Cat’s distress and says, “You can play with us,” ushering in a conclusion in which “Pig and Cat and Dog are pals.”
A book for emergent readers to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)