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*They All Saw a Cat* by Brendan Wenzel
They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel
Ages 3-5 44 pages Chronicle August 2016 Hardcover    

Wenzel’s picture book is about perception. As a cat “with whiskers, ears, and paws” wanders from his home to a pond, he encounters a variety of animals and insects (even a worm).

The illustrations reflect what the cat looks like through their eyes. For example, the mouse sees a cat that is large and ferocious. His nails and teeth are long, exposed, and sharp! He appears against a red background scattered with black spikes. The mouse’s fear clouds his perception.

From a flea’s perspective, there is a lot of long fur. The cat’s head is small and far away. The fish sees a cat which appears to be in a haze, and the bird’s view of the cat is from above. The illustration shows the back of the cat. Because the cat stays out overnight, he also encounters a skunk and a bat. Echolocation is represented by dots.

Wenzel, who used numerous drawing materials to achieve the different looks, combines them all in a double-page spread which shows the one cat pieced together with all these views. By the time the cat gets to the pond, the author asks a question that children will surely be able to answer.

This story has repetition, and lots of animals. It will get children thinking about vision and how all living things experience the world. The book could segue into talking about self-perception as well, especially with older children.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2016 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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