All the big cats laugh heartily at the house cat when he references his kinship to them. But he who laughs last….
He’s a small gray cat with green eyes and black stripes. His name is Simon, and the five big cats stare in disbelief, then laugh, when he declares, “I am a cat. Just like you.” The lion explains that he has a mane and a tail tuft and a tremendous roar. The cheetah mocks Simon as “so short and chubby”; cats should be “tall and graceful.” The puma proclaims that cats live in mountains, “jump high, and act tough.” The panther says that cats are black and live in jungles and sleep in trees. The tiger patiently explains that cats are very strong and “very, very, orange.” Simon is quite confused and points out the differences among the big cats. The lion counters with what they have in common. “Small, perky ears and flat noses… / …long whiskers and long tails. / …sharp teeth and claws… / …and big eyes that can see in the dark.” Simon points out that he has all those things. After a pause (paws?) to consider, the quintet agrees: “You’re a cat!” Bernstein’s distinct, slightly cartoony characterizations of her array of big cats are both educational and entertaining. The big cats are indeed large and toothy, but the portrayal is ever lighthearted.
Clever. (Picture book. 3-6)