Cat Dog (Mem Fox & Mark Teague)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Cat Dog by Mem Fox and Mark Teague, a seemingly-simple yet surprisingly intriguing look at narratives and point of view.

There are two things the reader can be sure of: 1) there is a dog in this book, and b) there is a cat in this book. Beyond that, the details can get, well… fuzzy. The description of a simple scenario between a dog, a cat, and a mouse in a living room becomes more complex with the introduction of unreliable narration and shifting perspectives. As the story unfolds, readers can decide for themselves what actually took place – and what happens next.

Deceptively complex. The idea of unreliable narration can be tricky for children’s books, but this one balances the concept well with a simplified story, uncomplicated text and some hilariously illustrative artwork. As each page asks a question of the reader, and the following page answers with either yes or no, giving young bookworms the opportunity to guess for themselves what might happen next, and leaves the final question open-ended so they can imagine how the story might further unfold. It’s a clever concept, and very well executed. The illustrations do a great job of portraying the multiple possibilities presented through subtle shifts in tone, details, and the body language of the animals. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed this one, especially the twists and turns and easy-to-read text. Overall, this was a really interesting read, and well worth checking out. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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