They All Saw a Cat

By: Brendan Wenzel

2017 Caldecott Honor
Each creature encountering a cat sees something different, making the reader wonder: is this a story about a cat, or is it about the animals that see it? Full-color illustrations rendered “in almost everything imaginable, including colored pencil, oil pastels, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, Magic Marker,” pencil, and digitally.

ISBN: 9781452150130

JLG Release: Nov 2016


Sensitive Areas: No sensitive areas
Topics: Cats , Identity (psychology) , Perception , Point of view

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Awards & Honors

SLJ’s Best Books of 2016, Picture Books
The New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2016, Picture Books
New York Public Library 2016 Best Books for Kids, Picture Books
Goodreads Choice Awards 2016, Picture Books
National Public Radio’s Guide to 2016 Great Reads
Booklist 2016 Editors’ Choice, Books for Youth, Young Readers, Fiction
ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2017, All Ages
Parents’ Choice Award Winner, Picture Books Recommended
2017 Capitol Choices, Zero to Seven
The Washington Post Best Children’s and Young Adult Books of 2016
2016 Cybils Finalist, Fiction Picture Books

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Book List*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This playful exploration of perspective presents its strolling subject through a range of animal lenses; the resulting views comprise a kaleidoscope of physical and psychological interpretations. A child pets a soft, smiling cat with cartoon eyes. The dog observes a scrawny, slinking creature dominated by a bell. Through
[STARRED REVIEW]
This playful exploration of perspective presents its strolling subject through a range of animal lenses; the resulting views comprise a kaleidoscope of physical and psychological interpretations. A child pets a soft, smiling cat with cartoon eyes. The dog observes a scrawny, slinking creature dominated by a bell. Through the fishbowl, the cat is a blurry close-up. An expressionistic explosion exhibits the mouse’s viewpoint: a red background sets the tone for the menacing monster, all pointy teeth and outsize claws. Entertaining and intellectually stimulating, Wenzel’s ideas progress from ways of seeing that are easily grasped to those that require more thought, e.g., the underground worm understands the feline’s presence by sensing its mirror image—shown in vibrating lines that surround him as it crosses overhead. The distinctive look of each spread and the skill with which the artist employs a multitude of media, from colored pencils, charcoal, and oil pastels to watercolor and markers, underscore the variety of perspectives and add visual pleasure. The symmetrical narrative structure, selective rhymes, and cumulative conclusion (in which the cat’s body is built from a piece of each prior view and the animals are enumerated in a fast-paced, rhythmic manner) have the feel of a classic story song, such as “The Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee” or “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Ultimately the cat approaches a pond to see, of course, a reflection. From the endpapers to each clever composition, this title invites interaction and thoughtful looking, always allowing the child to discern meaning. VERDICT An excellent first purchase that belongs in all picture book collections.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

Horn Book

Seeing is perceiving. As a cat walks “through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws,” a diverse assortment of creatures happens upon it, each with a distinct (if sometimes enigmatic) perception of the feline. To the fox, the cat is a frightened, plump morsel; to the fish, it is a fuzzy blur through a glass bowl; to the flea, it i Seeing is perceiving. As a cat walks “through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws,” a diverse assortment of creatures happens upon it, each with a distinct (if sometimes enigmatic) perception of the feline. To the fox, the cat is a frightened, plump morsel; to the fish, it is a fuzzy blur through a glass bowl; to the flea, it is all hair; and to the mouse, the cat is a nightmarish combination of ferocious eyes, claws, and teeth. Rendered in “almost everything imaginable” (including colored pencil, oil pastels, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, Magic Marker, and more), Wenzel’s colorful, dazzling illustrations are as varied from page to page as the animals represented. The text is spare but steady, with all-caps and italics used for emphasis, and plenty of rhythm and repetition. The story apexes in a mash-up showing the cat on a double-page spread reminiscent of Eric Carle’s Mixed-Up Chameleon. “YES, THEY ALL SAW A CAT!” The book ends in a question as the cat looks at its reflection in a pond, and readers are asked to “imagine what it saw.” When the cat is illustrated without a particular character’s lens provided, it is sleek and realistic-looking with a face that is never shown directly; that mystery, given the sense of inquiry and wonder this book constructs, is fittingly left for readers to contemplate. elisa gall

Book Details

ISBN

9781452150130

First Release

November 2016

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

11" x 9"

Page Count

44

Accelerated Reader

Level 1.9; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level AD310L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Chronicle

Potentially Sensitive Areas

No sensitive areas

Topics

Cats, Identity (psychology), Perception, Point of view,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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Standard Correlations

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