cover image They All Saw a Cat

They All Saw a Cat

Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle, $16.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-4521-5013-0

The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws,” writes Wenzel (Beastly Babies) at the opening of this perspective-broadening picture book. What those features add up to depends on the eyes of the beholder, not to mention scale relationships, instincts, and history. To a child, the cat looks like a pet: affectionate, big eyed, and adorable. But a flea sees a vast forest of dense hair to conquer. A mouse cowers before the dragonlike creature of horror that bounds out of a blood-red background with blazing yellow eyes. And a bee sees a collection of multicolored dots—a pointillist pussycat. The simple text (“the skunk saw a cat, and the worm saw a cat, and the bat saw a cat. Yes, they all saw the cat”) creates a powerful, rhythmic juxtaposition between word and image, and inventively varied renderings showcase a versatile, original talent at work, in media ranging from collage to pencil and watercolor. This is Wenzel’s first book as both illustrator and writer, and it’s marvelous—no matter how you look at it. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)