The Little Kitten (Nicola Killen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen, an adorable autumn tale of feline friendship.

Little Ollie, clad in a playful catsuit, is ready to head outside to enjoy a fall day with her own pet cat, Pumpkin. Yet just as she’s about to jump into a pile of crunchy leaves, a gust of wind blows them all away – to reveal a shivering kitten hidden within! Ollie and Pumpkin welcome their new friend with a day of play and cuddles, but in all the excitement, Ollie and the new kitten run off and accidentally leave Pumpkin behind. Discovering some “Lost Kitten” flyers, Ollie realizes that her new friend is missed by his own person, and endeavors to help him find his way home. With a mysterious path, a missing Pumpkin, and a quickly-falling night, can Ollie get the kitten home… without becoming lost herself?

Delightful. This sweet-as-pumpkin-pie story is as gentle and cozy of an autumn tale as any reader could wish for. Themes of adventure and friendship (and just a hint of Halloween) are rich, yet the story itself is simple, making for a lovely and light storytime. Equally appealing is the soft yet striking artwork, which features adorable, endearing characters in shades of gray, white, and orange. The sporadic cutouts and gorgeous use of foil amongst the fall foliage is the cherry on top. The length is perfect, and JJ adored it. A modern fall classic-in-the-making that’s sure to please, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Scratchie: A Touch-And-Feel Cat Adventure (Maria Putri)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Scratchie: A Touch-And-Feel Cat Adventure by Maria Putri, a delightful toddler book centered around a frisky feline.

Scratchie the cat loves to scratch things – “it keeps my claws super sharp”. The mischievous kitty invites the reader along to scratch things together, touring through an abundance of different textures. And after a busy morning of scratching together (and leaving an enormous mess), Scratchie has the perfect idea for winding down: a snooze and a pet of some nice, soft cat fur.

Cat-loving bookworms will go nuts for this one – JJ was practically jumping out of her skin at the opportunity to follow along and pretend to “scratch” the different textures with Scratchie, and the self-possessed, very feline quality of the dialogue made me chuckle. The textures themselves are very nicely varied, though they don’t always quite line up with what’s being described; a “scratchy” paper towel is a soft terry cloth, and a “wooden” table is the distinct feel of vinyl plastic. Still, the wonderfully soft fur of Scratchie at the end served a dual purpose of tying up the story nicely and giving us a go-to page to practice gently petting a cat, which would be a huge help for any house that hosts both toddlers and kitties. The length was perfect, and we liked this one. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Max Attacks (Kathi Appelt)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Max Attacks, written by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan, a rollicking day in the life of a mischievous housecat.

Max attacks – and he’s quite good at it. Sneaking up stealthily on his prey – be it unsuspecting lizard, shoelace, or dirty sock – he loves to pounce and trounce and paw and claw at anything that strikes his fancy. But no prey is more tempting than the bowl of fish that swims around all day, with their shiny scales and swishy fins. Today is the day Max will pounce on his prey… assuming he doesn’t get distracted first.

Delightful. Any owner of a playful kitty with recognize the fun, foolishness, and occasional frustration of an active feline on the prowl. Max’s antics are mostly harmless, resulting in only a few loose sock threads and a downed curtain (yes, even the fish escape unscathed), and the humorous “I meant to do that” resolution perfectly fits both the tone and the main character’s species. Max’s design is especially pleasing to the eye, his bright blue fur with black stripes an eye-catching contrast to the world around him, and his roguish expressions both engaging and endearing. The length was fine, the jaunty rhyming text is fun to read aloud, and JJ and I had a blast. An entertaining read for cat lovers of any age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Pretty Kitty (Karen Beaumont)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pretty Kitty, written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis, a delightful counting book with unexpected heart.

An elderly man alone in the big city comes upon a tiny kitty. He acknowledges the adorable kitten’s charm, but he makes it clear that he is not looking to adopt a cat. But as the first adorable kitten follows him home, another comes to join… then another… then ANOTHER. And over the course of two days, his front stoop fills up with a mother cat and her nine fluffy, irresistible babies. The man gives reason after reason that he cannot possibly adopt even a single one of them, even as he puts out food and gives them scratches. But as the snow begins to fall over the city and the furry family is left out in the cold, the man begins to wonder if his reasons, no matter how personal they may be, can really overcome his affection for his new friends…

This was ADORABLE. Going beyond just a standard counting book, the story is a touching one, especially for cat lovers big and small. The rhyming text is bouncy and flows easily while still creating some wonderful comedic and dramatic moments. The reveal of the true reason that the man is reluctant to adopt another cat is subtle and may fly over the heads of smaller readers, but it will surely tug at the heartstrings of anyone who has loved and lost a pet. I’m so impressed with this one because it attempts to cohere so many elements – comedy, pathos, numbers education, etc – and manages to tie them all together in a beautiful, heartwarming story that teaches as it entertains. Perfect length, JJ went WILD for precious and warm illustrations, and just a fantastic read overall! Baby Bookworm approved!

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

I Am A Cat (Galia Bernstein)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the silly and simple I Am A Cat by Galia Bernstein, a delightful tale of what makes us different and what makes us the same.

A smallish, tubby gray housecat meets with a group of big cats (consisting of a lion, a cheetah, a puma, a panther, and a tiger), and introduces himself as one of their own. The five beasts stare a moment, then break into uproarious laughter. They all insist that the little tabby can’t be a cat for various reasons: Lion claims that he must have a mane, Cheetah notes his lack of sleekness and speed, Panther says he must come from the jungle, and so on. But Cat points out a flaw in this logic – none of them share these traits, so how does that prove that they are all cats? The big cats explain that while they may have many differences, some things are the same, such as their rounded, perky ears and long whiskers and claws. Cat shows them that he has these things as well, just smaller. And after a moment’s consideration, the big cats realize their mistake. “You’re a cat!” they proclaim, and everyone spends the day pouncing, pawing and, of course, napping together.

Cheerful and marvelously fun. Any child who is a fan of cats – big or small – will love the way the story connects housecats to their larger and more wild brethren. There’s also a nice, subtle lesson to be learned in looking for the things that unite, rather than divide, us from others. The illustrations are adorable, realistic enough to show the natural similarities in the cats yet cartoonish enough to make them cuddly and non-threatening. The length was good and JJ enjoyed it, so we can definitely call this one Baby Bookworm approved!