Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Cat Talk

Cat Talk

Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrator:   Barry Moser 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
HarperCollins, 2013   ISBN: 978-0060279783

Some people are under the impression that cats are all alike, that they don’t have distinctive personalities. They could not be more wrong. Cats, like people, come is all shapes and sizes both in their looks and in their inner selves.

   In this beautiful book we are going to meet some cats, each one of which is very different. Tough Tom, with his torn up ears, has been living out in the world on his own. He is independent and knows how to take care of himself, but when someone opens a window and when Tough Tom finds out that the person in the house has food and a blanket, Tough Tom has to make a choice. He is scared because he is used to the outdoor life and “fighting with other cats,” but a life of comfort and ease is attractive to that cat.

   Lily is a barn cat who shares her life with cows, horses, and a gray donkey called Rose. It is a good life and she likes the “sweet-smelling hay, / And the breathing of cows / And horse snorts.” Lily has a secret though. She has a best friend and she asks us not to tell anyone about this friend because…she thinks he is “a mouse.”

   Some of the cats we meet on the pages are house cats who get to share their human’s bed, and who rule those humans with a firm paw. Then there is Eddie, who has a job which he takes very seriously. Eddie is an office cat and he goes to “greet people at the office door.” He uses “many voices” to say hello, to ask for snacks, and to comment on and react to things that happens around him.

   Some cats like Sylvie are aloof and make sure that everyone knows that they are “the boss cat.” Others are more like Romeo, loving everyone, asking for attention, and playing with anyone who happens to be available.

   Throughout this book the wonderful poems are paired with Barry Moser’s beautiful and evocative paintings to give readers a delightful cat-centric poetry experience.