Kate Isobel Scott
24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
All over the country I meet lots of interesting cats
Cats of all shapes and sizes in many different guises…
Using simple rhyming terms but very clever, detailed illustrations to completely engage the reader, this is a brilliant book for all cat-lovers and all ages. For the Mat Cat is not a modest moggy curled up on a rug in front of the fire as you might expect, but a very fit, energetic yoga expert! The Rat Cat hasn’t caught something nasty to leave at the front door but an echo of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
While young readers will love being able to read it for themselves because of the simple rhyming pattern, it is drawing the connections between the words and the pictures that adds depth, humour and a storyline that has the most comforting ending. Author and illustrator first met when Harvey taught Scott at school and that relationship shines through this book as though Scott knew that Harvey would never intend for a Fat Cat to be a self-satisfied feline surrounded by dead mice.
Adorable in itself, and never written to be an instructional text, nevertheless this is one that could be shared with a class focusing on phonics and word families (don’t get me started…) but in a fun way where the children search out other -at words and then use their imaginations to illustrate them in surprising ways. Or just re-interpret the words in the story. Either way, they will not only learn a common sound for the -at combination but also start to look at character and how that can be expressed in the details of an illustration. Can what has happened to Scat Cat be any more obvious even though there are but three words on the page??? The cues and clues offered through the pictures in a picture book are a critical, integral part of the child’s early language and reading development and texts like there that require a focus on both are an essential part of any book collection.