Author/Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel
Age Group: 2-6
Synopsis: View the cat from many different view points as it strolls through the world of perception and perspective.
The Low Down:
I had someone ask how in the world I could have put this book on my “Best of 2016” list but not have already written a review about it. The truth is, many of my review books come from the library. And along with that fabulous price tag is the ever impending return date. I like to be punctual in many things but I won’t deny that I’m no stranger to library fees. However, I’m still trying to set a good example for Bug. So, we’ve been returning books on time (mostly). Those that I love so much that I’ve just bought? Well, I hate to say it but they get set aside for next week, and the week after, or maybe the week after that. So, yes, maybe I bought this book back in September and we’ve read it every week since but I still haven’t written a review about it. My humble apologies reader. Without further ado…
I’d not read Brendan Wenzel before and now I feel like I should go back in time and shake some sense into my previous self. Luckily, my fellow picture book lover, Mel, did that for me. If you haven’t seen her blog at www.letstalkpicturebooks.com you should check it out (This lady is a picture book queen and always seems to have the inside scoop). While at a stunning book store in Saltaire, she pointed this out and without hesitation I added it to my stack. I’m so glad I did. There are many picture books that never receive the commendation that they deserve. Luckily, They All Saw a Cat is not one of them. I’ve seen this book on all sorts of blogs and smiled each time. Because commendation is exactly what it deserves.
Wenzel sweeps in with his perfectly repetitive lines, that emboldens our developing readers with their slight variations, and whisks all readers away with brilliantly illustrated pages. The text read like poetry but varies just enough to keep the attention of young readers. And if your child begins to be distracted, the variance in the pictures will bring them right back to the story. The text has a circular pattern, traipsing about a bit and then coming back to the cat, who was never far away anyway. On top of it all, Wenzel seems to effortlessly teach a lesson to children that parents are constantly trying to impress upon them.
Each illustration has a different style and so the cat looks different on each page. The mouse sees the cat in jarring black, an angry and terrible beast. But a few pages later, the bee sees the same cat as a mosaic of brightly colored spots. A bat may see only cat-shaped dots while a fish my see only two yellow eyes. This physical representation introduces little ones to the idea that we do not all see the same thing. This is a difficult concept to grasp and even as an adult I sometimes have trouble understanding how people see things differently than I do. In this fabulous masterpiece Wenzel beautifully and effortlessly acquaints young readers with the concept perception but still subtly reminds older readers of the same message.
- The text is repetitive enough that little ones can help read the pages. Let them.
- Draw your own cat afterwords
- Keep an eye out for extra animals on the bird page.
I need more!
Brendan Wenzel’s pairing with Angela Diterlizzi with their Some Pets is another great title for this year. They’ve also come up with Some Bugs. He also illustrated One Day in the Eucalyptus Tree with text by Daniel Bernstrom. Wenzel has a new book out this year called Beastly Babies with words by Ellen Jackson. Keep up to date with his projects by tuning into: http://brendanwenzel.info/
Add to my library: