A versatile vehicle is the subject of Gebhart’s (Deere is Right Here!, 2017, etc.) latest picture book for very young readers.
“This is CAT!” the book’s narrator announces with enthusiasm, introducing kids to a Caterpillar skid-steer loader vehicle, alongside a photo showing the machine in profile. Although the CAT in the first picture has treads, the CAT in the second has wheels and a drill, showing a particular task that the machine can do. The next has treads again and carries sod to a lawn in a forklift. This picture book is full of partial-page images, accompanied by sparse but easy-to-decipher text, which show a variety of CAT’s jobs—“CAT carries a log” and “CAT scoops gravel” among them. A photo of a small, toy CAT shows that the machine is popular enough to be found in a child’s home, and two other photos show CAT’s drivers. There’s little sense of continuity from one picture to the next—each CAT has different features, and the mentions of “help” by CAT’s drivers aren’t placed consecutively. However, pre-K readers interested in construction vehicles, as well as very newly independent readers, will appreciate the short, concise sentences, which clearly describe the action in each photograph. The final page sums up the types of actions that CAT can take: drilling, scooping, and carrying, “all with help!” The amount of white space and the large print make the book highly approachable, overall. The photos are of varying quality (and one bears a website label), but each clearly depicts its subject in a way that will entice lap-readers to point to the machine’s features or imagine its noises with help and prompting.
Simple text, accessible vocabulary, and plentiful photos may spark conversations about the types of jobs that machines can do.