cover image Monet’s Cat

Monet’s Cat

Lily Murray, illus. by Becky Cameron. Random House Studio, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-30613-0

This gentle fantasy’s premise hinges on an actual porcelain cat figurine that Claude Monet (1840–1926) owned (an afterword includes a photo). In Murray’s imagination, it becomes Chika, a “magic cat... made of delicate pottery” who comes to life when “Monet tapped her three times with his paintbrush.” As cats do, Chika immediately gets into things—in this case, Monet’s paintings, where she wreaks havoc. He chases her through four well-known works, clambering through a picnic, a train station, and a day at the beach until both end up tumbled into the famous water lily pond. It’s a device that brings the paintings to life, aided by Cameron’s winsome drawings of the portly artist and sleek little white cat within affable pastiches of Monet’s paintings. In a final spread, reproductions framed like works on the artist’s wall reveal a glimpse of Monet’s visual genius. An amusing wander through Monet’s world. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)