Title: Cats’ Night Out
Author: Caroline Stutson
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Age Group: 2-5
Synopsis: Count these grooving cats as they dance til dawn in this rhythmic tale.
While Bug seems to be flying through letters and sounds we have found a stumbling stone in our learning journey. Specifically the number seven. He counts just fine until 6 and afterwords but he constantly mixes up seven and eleven. And once he gets to seven he just skips right over 8-10. If we start from eight though, no problem. I find myself sighing over these moments but as a kid who had a love/hate relationship with fifteen I understand. Still, we’ve started picking up more counting books from the library in an effort to combat this 7-11 issue. One of our favorites has been Cats’ Night Out. Full of music references, Bug’s delighted to learn about new music and practice his numbers on almost every page.
Counting books usually don’t have much in the way of plot and Cats’ Night Out isn’t an exception. However, the rhythmic way the story unfolds is enrapturing and the repetition is perfect for Bug’s emerging reading skills. With simple text that constantly reference different types of music, the readers are subtly exposed to new ideas and sounds. The cats’ numbers begin at two and then swell to twenty during their midnight shenanigans. In the early morning hours they’re driven away by angry residents trying to sleep. That seems the end of the night time dancing until the last page, where two cats began waltzing the next evening.
Klassen’s settings stay true to his style with muted/darker colors that pop when paired with the contrasting cats and lighting. It’s easy to feel like you’ve slipped outdoors at night to discover a unique, hidden city secret. The cats, themselves aren’t facially expressive but the fun and rhythm that they display on the pages is expressive all by itself. As if their focus on the actual dance can’t be broken. Klassen also hides the numbers corresponding with the page throughout the settings, allowing for an additional layer of interest.
There are a number of counting books out there. Many are enough to make a parent’s brain explode. However Stutson and Klassen have hit upon a gem here that makes Cats’ Night Out really shine. And though it alone isn’t going to fix Bug’s counting confusion (and nor should it), it provides a fun and alternative way for us to practice that is both literary and interesting.
- Listen to the different types of music mentioned.
- Keep an eye out for those numbers, they can be sneaky.
I need more!
Caroline Stutson is known to us through her book By the Light of the Halloween Moon. I haven’t read any of her other works but if you’d like more head on over the her website: http://www.carolinestutsonbooks.com
Jon Klassen has done a number of books we’ve loved. Check out my review onExtra Yarn for more.