cover image The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

Curtis Manley, illus. by Kate Berube. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3569-7

Nick, a brown-skinned boy with a puff of curly hair, has two cats: Verne, who is pretty chill, and Stevenson, who makes Grumpy Cat look exuberant. Neither is happy when Nick turns his attention to a book: Verne lolls across the pages, and Stevenson sits on a stack of volumes, cleans his paws, and scowls. “So Nick decided to teach them to read,” Manley writes, making a marvelous debut—and it works. For Verne, anyway: “He practiced on his own, over and over, even after Nick went to bed.” Soon, Verne has a library card and is borrowing “so many books that Nick could hardly carry them home.” But where does that leave Stevenson? As any former reluctant reader knows, sometimes it takes the right nudge to fall in love with books; here, it’s the discovery that cranky Stevenson is actually an artist. Berube’s (Hannah and Sugar) softly textured paintings are funny, smartly composed, and deeply moving as she makes the cats’ literary and artistic endeavors seem like the most natural thing in the world. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary Management. (July)