They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Age Range: 3 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . .
In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel’s simple, rhythmic prose and ingenious illustrations take readers on an imaginary walk alongside a cat. But while a child sees a cat that is soft and fluffy, a goldfish only sees terrible yellow eyes distorted by the lens of the fishbowl, a mouse mostly registers ferocious teeth and claws, and a bat sees a cat-shaped collection of white dots illuminating the dark.
Each animal’s vision of the cat is informed by a combination of proximity, physiology and emotion, in a quietly brilliant demonstration of the power of perception.
Have you ever seen 2 babies in a room and when one starts crying, the other starts crying too? Having kids born 15 months apart, I know this all too well. This happens because babies don’t know that someone else’s discomfort is not their own. They don’t have the ability to take the perspective of someone else.
Teaching small children about perspective can be tough. At a young age, children are often unable to put themselves in another person’s position and imagine what they would feel, think, or do if you were in that situation. It’s not until kids are older that they can begin to imagine a situation from someone else’s perspective. Only then can they gain a better understanding of someone else’s motives or change their own behavior so they don’t offend others. Fortunately, the older kids get the more they learn to consider other people’s perspectives before they act or speak.
When reading books on the subject of perspective like They All Saw A Cat, I talk with the kids about the characters (or in this case – animals) and how they may be feeling in the book. I also try to identify and label the emotions and then talk about why the character feels that way or how you know (he/she is smiling, he/she found their lost toy, he/she is crying, etc.)
I absolutely loved this book and the kids seemed to enjoy it too. However, I noticed my 2.5 year-old son reacted much differently to the book than my almost 4 year-old daughter did. As I turned each page and we looked at the cat from each animals’ perspective, my son kept asking, “Mommy, what’s that?” as he pointed to the cat. That’s because the cat looked totally different each time. My daughter on the other hand seemed to understand it was a cat pictured on each page, but it just looked different to each animal.
I love the beauty and simplicity of this book, especially the cover (minus the book jacket). Seeing it intrigues me and makes me want to open this book immediately to find out what it’s about. I also liked how the author cleverly used words in italics and in capital letters as well as vivid and captivating illustrations throughout the book. It’s a visual delight to look at if you like illustration and design.
Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable read that’s destined to be a classic. I’m confident as my kids get older they will love this book as much as I do. A true winner and perfect new addition to any home library, school or home school! Check this one out with your little readers when it releases on August 30, 2016.
Pre-Order Campaign from Chronicle Books
Now through August 30th, Chronicle Books is running a special pre-order campaign. Folks who pre-order will not only get a first-edition book, but a cute pencil case filled with colored pencils like the one pictured below. Visit http://theyallsawacat.chroniclebooks.com to pre-order a copy for your child’s home library today!
On August 30th
Be sure to celebrate the on-sale day of They All Saw A Cat on Instagram. Show off your TASAC swag, a photo of your kiddo reading, whatever inspires you!
About the Author
Brendan Wenzel is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of the Pratt Institute, his work has appeared in animations, magazines and children’s books including Some Bugs and Some Pets authored by Angela DiTerlizzi. They All Saw a Cat is his debut as both author and illustrator.
Your turn: What are some ways you teach your little readers about seeing things differently from another perspective? Feel free to share in the comments.