“Family is what you make it.” Indeed.
An at-first-unknown narrator tells readers all the ways that their cat and their dad are alike: They look alike; they both love milk and sardines and belly rubs; they incorporate stretches and naps into their daily routines; etc. Lam is tricky in doling out clues as to the narrator’s identity. A female character does appear about halfway through, but a few pages later she is identified: “Mom is always picking up after my dad. And my cat.” (A dirty sock and a dead mouse, respectively.) It’s not until the final three spreads that the narrator is finally revealed, and readers will immediately flip back to the beginning to try to spy this character in the illustrations (in the book’s 15 spreads, eight include the narrator, who may have gone completely unnoticed in most of them). Lam’s trademark paper-collage artwork has a 1970s aesthetic: Dad sports flowered shirts with patterned collars, aviator-style glasses, big hair, and, while stretching, head- and wristbands. Mostly white backgrounds keep the focus on the colors, patterns, and characters. Both have light skin; Dad has sandy-colored hair, and Mom wears her straight black hair in a ponytail.
A tale sure to find a home among myriad types of families. (Picture book. 3-8)