The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s(the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell; illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. 2017. Pen and ink, pencil, watercolor and spot digital color. Published by Little, Brown and Company.
Brief summary: A cat ran out the door of a house and encounters an alligator. The alligator joins the cat to meet a bear. The cat, alligator and the bear come across a chicken. The chicken joins the trio and soon there is a dragon. The story continues with the five of them. The adventurous story is wordless with only the capital letter and small letter of the alphabet on the page along with something that begins with the letter. Aa Bb Cc
Comments: Story without words. There is a list in the back of all of the letters and corresponding words. I like that this ABC book is different by not telling the reader what the letter is about on the page. Surprise: It may not be a noun.
Sidenote: I was thrown by the ‘s of ABC’s when I first saw the title of the book. ABCs was taught to me as being plural. I did some research online and found that sometimes ‘s is used to mean a plural to avoid confusion.
This House, Once by Deborah Freedman; illustrated by Deborah Freedman. 2017. Pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, pan pastel “with an assist Photoshop”. Published by Antheneum Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Readers are told through words and illustrations how the different parts of the house use to be part of Earth. “The door was once a colossal oak tree…”
Comments: This will help students to think how things are made back to the simplest form to its present form. I could see using this book in the kindergarten curriculum for the “how things are made” unit. I often wondered as a child of how things were made but did not ask. I would have appreciated a book like this one. Each child will go home looking at his/her house in a new way perhaps wondering how other things are made; what it was originally in nature or man-made. This book is the stepping stone to other wonderment around us.
Although this book is soft and quiet with its gentle colors of watercolors and few words floating from one page to the next, I believe it is a profound book that makes the reader consider the origins of things. This may be one of those first books that sparks the fire of curiosity to learn more about other origins of things in our daily lives. How is the car made? Where did the tire come from? How were they made? What about the food I’m eating? How was this bread made? Wait a second, how was I made?
(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program. Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. 2016. Colored pencil, oil pastels, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, Magic Marker, #2 pencils, iBook.
Brief summary: A house cat walks through his world and is seen differently by each being. Sometimes the cat is a large monster; sometimes the cat is a small creature. It also can be different colors and shapes.
Comments: This book demonstrates different visual interpretations of the same object which can differ from one another depending upon one’s own attitude towards it or the fact that an eye can only see certain colors and shapes. I would use this in an art class for different visual perspectives and in a reading unit when discussing points of view. I recommend this as a Caldecott contender.
Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole; illustrated by Henry Cole. 2016. Black and white; very detailed
Brief Summary: Spot, the cat, sees a bird outside an opened window and decides to climb down the vines to get it. The reader follows Spot on his little outing looking for Spot in each page turn. The little boy looks for his cat. They both end up home again.
Comment: Fun, detailed art had me looking for Spot on each page. The story is very simple as Spot wanders through the city and back to his home as his little owner looks for him. Stories without Words. One lesson I would use this book and other “stories without words” books would be during the beginning of the first trimester with kindergartners and first graders to show how we can tell stories by just looking at pictures. Put the students in twos to look at a book together and then start from the beginning to retell it to one another.