Author-illustrator Lee (Pop! Pop! Bam! Bam!, 2013) follows one cat through his lonely life until his owner arrives in this repetitious picture book for the very young.
A playful gray cat goes through a series of emotions and actions over the course of his day. He hides behind a fire hydrant waiting to pounce on a mouse, showing that he’s hungry. He hides beneath a dresser, expressing fear. An image of an empty chair reveals why the cat is sad. By bathing, drinking and taking a nap, the cat manages to pass the time until, at last, he’s happy in his owner’s arms. The simplistic illustrations aren’t always fully colored, but they’re kid-friendly nonetheless. Some illustrations are stronger than others; the hiding cat looks more anti-social than afraid, and the dressed-up cat (to express the concept of “fancy”) has a strangely shaped face compared to other pictures. But the image of him crawling through a yoga mat (to be “sneaky”) is a perfect representation of how felines can find the oddest places to squish themselves and amuse their owners. Some words may be challenging for newly independent readers but will be great for sounding out with parents (such as “mischievous”); others are excellent examples of action words (“slurping”). The repeated phrase “one cat,” which begins every page, will comfort independent readers by providing a recognizable phrase on each page and encourage lap readers to chime in. The opening synopsis suggests a deeper back story (the cat was a starving stray, and that’s why it begins the story hungry and afraid), but this never quite comes through in the pictures. Instead, young readers will latch onto the emotions, recognizing that they also sometimes feel lonely or afraid or silly.
A comforting book about a cat, likely to appeal to the very young.