cover image Telling Time with Big Mama Cat

Telling Time with Big Mama Cat

Dan Harper. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201738-5

A cat who knows how to tell time? ""How else could I keep my busy day on schedule?"" asks Big Mama Cat. Harper, in his first book, cleverly employs the cat narrator to recount a grueling schedule of napping, stretching, ""prewashing"" the dirty dishes and lingering nearby if a snack seems forthcoming. A page featuring a clock with movable plastic hands shows through the die-cut cover, and folds out so readers can move the clock hands to the times cited in the book. The handsome illustrations, composed by Cara Moser and painted in watercolors by Barry Moser (the father-daughter team also illustrated Eagle Boy: A Traditional Navajo Legend), capture expressions and poses that will be familiar to cat lovers: looking unrepentant as she is ""helped down"" from the forbidden new chair and licking her chops at the dinner table (""I'm not invited, but I grab a seat and look hungry""). One humorous spread shows the sly feline at the door, on the left, wanting to go outside at 10:30 a.m.; on the right, at 10:45 (displayed on a cat clock), she peers in from the outside and wants in--a tiny mouse pictured inside the house provides the explanation. With activities every hour, and sometimes more often, Big Mama Cat will likely succeed in teaching young cat lovers to clock their days with confidence. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)