Book: Here Comes the Easter Cat
Author: Deborah Underwood
Illustrator: Claudia Rueda
Age Range: 3-5
Here Comes the Easter Cat, by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda, is about a cat who is jealous of the Easter Bunny, and decides to become the Easter Cat. Well, at least until he learns that the Easter Bunny has too much work to do to leave any time for naps.
Here Comes the Easter Cat has a unique storytelling style, one that I think would actually make it also work as an early reader. The cat never speaks. The cat uses signs, pictures, and actions to communicate with the narrator. The narrator both interprets and responds to the cat. Like this:
"What's wrong, Cat?
You look grumpy.
(picture of Cat, arms folded, face scowling)
(picture of Cat holding up a sign with a sketch of the Easter Bunny)
The Easter Bunny?
What about him?
This by-play between narrator and Cat offers lovely opportunities for reading the book with a small child. ("What do you think the cat is saying here, Bobby?", and so on.) And the pictures offer plenty of visual cues for the slightly older child who is attempting to read the book alone.
Cat is a fun character, unrepentantly sly (wanting to use a motorcycle so he can beat the Easter Bunny, for example), but also child-like (disappointed at the notion that the Easter Bunny doesn't necessarily wear special clothing). Rueda's ink and colored pencil illustrations perfectly convey Cat's changing moods and "Aha!" moments. He is quite hard to resist.
Here Comes the Easter Cat is a longer picture book, but the minimal text on each page spread makes it a quick and unintimidating read. There is also plenty of white space (including a couple of entire pages, where the narrator is waiting for Cat). There's a fun twist at the end that hints at the sequel (Here Comes Santa Cat was released in October).
Here Comes the Easter Cat is pure fun, sure to please preschool-age readers. I look forward to seeing Cat in future adventures. Recommended!
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (@PenguinKids)
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source of Book: Personal copy
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