See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, RL 1.5


See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog 
illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Reading and reviewing the superlative, How to Apologize last month, I discovered that this was not the first time LaRochelle and Wohnoutka had worked together. They teamed up for MOO! in 2013 and in 2021, See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog, won the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award! While thematically different, See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog is every bit as engaging, entertaining and educational. Where How to Apologize is ideal for social-emotional learning, See the Cat is perfect for emerging readers. And, both books are very fun to read out loud and listen to.

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog is one of my favorite kinds of picture books – the words tell a different story than the pictures. Of course, you get a feel for this on the cover of the book, where you see Max, the dog, peering up at the title, eyebrows raised. The surprise of the resolution is such a treat to experience, I am limiting the illustrations and story details shared here. Everyone deserves to laugh out loud and gasp the way I did while reading! However, that makes it even harder to review this marvelous book and convey all that is so wonderful about it. 

In the first story, "See the Cat," Max, who speaks in word bubbles, addresses (seeming) narrative error with an initial poise that increases to alarm quickly. As the description of the cat builds (see the blue cat, see the blue cat in the green dress . . . ) Max keeps trying to set the record straight – until he is proven wrong."See the red dog," are the final words of the story, with a red-cheeked Max exclaiming, "I am so embarrassed." The humor and suspense doesn’t translate here, in part because I am leaving out the big surprise of the story. 

The second story, "See the Snake," begins with those words and Max, hunkered down with paws over his hear, muttering, "Here we go again." The surprises and laughs mount to the third and final story, "See the Dog," where Max finally takes a stand. And then a nap!

Happily, LaRochelle and Wohnoutka have started what I hope will be a long series, with the second book, See the Dog: Three Stories About a Cat, comes out in September! Review to come!

August 17, 2021 at 01:00PM Tanya