Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cat's Pajamas by Wallace Edwards

Hmm...not sure how I feel about this book. As you can see from the cover, the art is elaborate and ornate, with rich colors and details. Each page on the inside has a single illustration framed in a simple square border. The book opens with the definition of an idiom and each picture illustrates a different idiom. One or two sentences below the picture use the idiom in a sentence. The illustrations not only demonstrate the idiom, but also often include a humorous trick or play on the idiom. For example, the sentence "When it came to cartooning, Elsie had a lot to draw on" is illustrated by a picture of an elephant covered with cartoon drawings and holding a bunch of colored pencils. Small jokes are also included in some of the pictures. A list at the end, titled "Letting the cat out of the bag" explains the idioms in alphabetical order.

On the one hand, we are rather fond of guessing games and seek and find books here at my library. On the other hand, I feel this one is a bit complex for most children and the best audience is probably at least 2nd grade and up. It seems like a lot of picture books I'm seeing now are really designed with older kids in mind - or even adults (I'm looking at you Lane Smith). On the one hand, younger children will probably enjoy looking at the detailed pictures. On the other hand, what I really want more of in my picturebook section at my library are books that are great read-alouds for preschool and toddler storytime and books that will appeal to the preschool and toddler crowd.

Verdict: This would be an excellent choice for an elementary school library or a classroom, especially if you're teaching idioms. I think it's less useful in a public library collection and really depends on what you need in your collection. If you have Graeme Base fans, they will eat this one up!

ISBN: 978-1554533084; Published August 2010 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates


Playing by the book said...

I'm with you here on this - the word play sounds like it's something much older kids would enjoy (and adults). I was having a similar discussion last week about an Amelia Bedelia book we have which is full of word play (draw the curtains - Amelia draws them with a pencil rather than shuts them, put the light out - Amelia takes the light outside rather than turning it off etc)

Jennifer said...

Yeah, I can see it working with an elementary class - you have a captive audience for one thing! Not many older kids will pick up picturebooks on their own - and the ones who do, their parents usually tell them "those books are for little kids"