cover image Inside Cat

Inside Cat

Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7319-1

In They All Saw a Cat, Wenzel mulled the riddle of perception through the eyes of various creatures looking at a cat. Here, it’s a cat that does the looking. The scribbly, wide-eyed feline’s awareness of the world is drawn from all it sees out the windows of its cat-shaped city home. The views are painted in vivid colors, while domestic interiors appear in pale tints. Wenzel elaborates the windows’ shapes, the vistas outside, and the cat’s conclusions about them in loose verse lines with a repeating chorus: “INSIDE CAT knows many windows,/ finds a view wherever it goes.// Wanders./ Wonders./ Gazes./ Gapes./ Sees the world through many shapes.” The cat, naturally, filters all it sees through its own perceptions: a helicopter is a “roaring fly,” while a partial view of a fur coat–clad person is supplied, in the cat’s mind, with a fluffy, squirrel-like tail. With so many windows to peer out of, the cat seems to know everything. Or does it? Wenzel’s multimedia spreads are loose and open-ended, rich and suggestive; they’ll leave readers wondering what’s out there beyond their own windows—and beyond their own experiential selves. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)