As they did previously for dogs (Once I Ate a Pie, illustrated by Katy Schneider, 2006), MacLachlan and Charest give voice to a collection of charming pets beautifully rendered by veteran illustrator Moser.
In 13 poems, each on a double-page spread, 16 cats (and one mouse) are lovingly described. Cat fanciers will immediately recognize the personalities of these particular pussycats. From the straightforward revelation of the delightfully outsized ego of Princess Sheba Darling, who declares “I love me,” to affectionate Romeo’s embrace of everyone and everything, to the wary, unwilling domestication of torn-eared Tough Tom, the poems speak in the cats’ voices. That they also manage with only a few words to create specific situations, sometimes even including a bit of a back story, is what makes these poems true portraits rather than the cute caricatures that sometimes inhabit collections like this one. Moser’s watercolor illustrations, of course, contribute significantly to the overall quality. Majestic, maternal, suspicious, playful or placid, each cat is pictured in a pose and setting that reflect and illuminate the text. Tuck’s toes and tail peek out from the covers beside two pairs of bare feet. Alice balances on the edge of the bathtub. Minnie slips through the night, almost invisible.
Though published for the preschool audience, this will no doubt find enthusiastic fans of all ages. (Picture book. 4 & up)