A plump, small gray cat named Simon happily introduces himself to the other cats. "I am a cat. Just like you!" This elicits some wide-eyed disbelief from the panther, lion, tiger, and other big cats. A cat like them? Ridiculous! The lion has a fearsome roar and a mane; the cheetah is the fastest animal; the tiger is the biggest and strongest of all the cats! Simon points out that they're not alike either, so how can they be cats? The condescending big cats explain that they all have "small, perky ears and flat noses" as well as other things in common. Things that.... wait for it.... Simon has too!
It turns out Simon IS a cat - just a little smaller! So there's no reason they can't play together after all, doing all the things cats love to do.
Clever Simon's lesson to the big cats on looking for similarities, not differences, will hopefully not be lost on young children. It's also a nice lesson on how animals are defined and budding young biologists should be able to apply this to other animal families as well.
The illustrations are wonderful, with sleek, gray, stripy Simon the epitome of self-confidence, even in the face of the big cats' patronizing attitudes and amused golden eyes. The clean lines of the cats, set aside white backgrounds (except the eyes, glowing on black), remove any distraction from the simple storyline.
Verdict: A charming and informative book, perfect for storytime with a wide range of ages. Encourage kids to create their own families of animals with differences and similarities, or even of people, if they're old enough to translate the concept. Recommended.
ISBN: 9781419726439 ; Published February 2018 by Abrams; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library