Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book #123: My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet

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Open this book to see Gilles Bachelet’s cat, the silliest cat in the world. He might look like an elephant, but he likes to sleep all day, chase balls of yarn and keep fastidiously clean. Cats like to do all of those things, right? And although he doesn’t always land on his feet when he falls, the Bachelet is very fond of him. Bachelet wonders if he should have chosen a more colorful cat, this one is such a boring shade of gray and although he’s painted many portraits none of them ever sell. Funny though, he’s never been able to figure out his cat’s breed…

Originally published in French, Bachelet uses short sentences to describe his cat’s habits and idiosyncrasies. Although the text uses the word, “cat,” the illustrations feature an elephant, which is just plain funny! The illustrations are meticulous and firmly plant the cat in the real world of a loft apartment. Along with a hilarious cat-like elephant, there’s humor in the details of the illustrations as well. Elephant knick-knacks, statues, and paintings abound. The furniture and household objects are modernistic with references to Picasso, Magritte, and other famous artists. I especially like the page that features nine “cats” of other colors, from leopard print to calico.

There’s something fun about books that let kids correct the adult reading the story. If you read this at storytime, be prepared for kids to shout, “That’s not a cat! It’s an elephant!” There’s also a page where the elephant uses the liter box, so be prepared for some giggles. Rachel Anne Mencke suggests telling the story with a completely straight face, never breaking character even when the kids correct you.

Use this as the last book of a cat themed storytime for a humorous snappy wrap up. Pair it with some rhymes, such as Old Grey Cat and My Kitten Stretches. Or use it as an introduction to an elephant storytime and pair it with One Elephant (Sometimes called One Little Elephant) and Elephant has a Great Big Trunk. This book also fits nicely into a storytime about pets.

If your kids can’t get enough of the silly antics of this cat, check out the sequel, When The Silliest Cat was Small.


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