Striking illustrations and a pitch-perfect portrait of an unnamed pet’s personality combine to showcase charming (and practical) advice on how to make friends with a feline.
A large black cat with yellow eyes narrates, but on some pages the cat appears instead to be red, blue or purple. These color shifts effectively convey changes in emotion, activity or time of day and definitely add to the visual appeal but do run the risk of confusing young listeners. The cat’s litany begins: “If I could pick a best friend…” and then catalogs desired qualities. Many subsequent sentences echo the opening by including the phrase “I’d pick a friend…” While none of the criteria detailed are unexpected (no yelling or dragging, privacy when appropriate and good rubs make the list, for example), Wahman injects plenty of visual humor to keep things interesting. Bright colors, off-kilter perspectives and stylized, exaggerated shapes bring her eye-catching artwork to life. Some paintings are reminiscent of Matisse, while others are cozier and more realistic. The final sentence circles back to the beginning and speaks directly to readers: “If I could pick a best friend in the whole wide world…I would pick YOU!”
Cat lovers will be instantly smitten, and even those who aren’t as immediately enthusiastic may well be won over by this slinky, strong-minded, creature. (Picture book. 4-7)