See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog

David LaRochelle, illus. by Mike Wohnoutka. Candlewick, $8.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0427-8
The stage is set for a meta battle of wills in the opening of this early reader, divided into three short chapters, from the creators of Moo!. An omniscient narrator diverts from the illustrations, introducing Baby Cakes, “a blue cat in a green dress riding a pink unicorn,” in lieu of Max, the yellow dog shown in the frame. Max argues that he is no such thing until, indeed, a cat and unicorn ride through the scene. But anyone who believes that this protagonist is going to be put upon for another two chapters has another, and very funny, think coming. First, Max uses a pencil to alter the text, averting a bite from an angry snake. Then, after defying the narrator’s demand to “run and jump and spin and fly,” Max announces that if the narrator makes good on a threat to have a hippo sit on him, he’s outta there—and the book “will end up in the trash.” The sharp humor and expressive, highly distilled gouache cartooning offer opportunities for lots of giggles, but the real joy of this stand-out beginning reader comes from watching a genuine underdog speak his truth. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2020
Release date: 09/08/2020
Genre: Children's
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