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This is the second experience we have had with a Cat the Cat book. (The other was Who Sleeps, CAT the CAT?) Both books follow the same design, with the cat, named Cat, speaking to different animals to see what they do. In this book, Cat finds her (she’s kind of wearing a t-shirt/dress, so I’m guessing Cat is a girl) friends and asks “What’s your sound?” Cat’s friends all respond with a resounding woof/peep/moo until we meet Bunny, who responds differently than all the rest, leading into a snuggly ending.
Cat the Cat throws me as a reader and therefore confuses my daughters as they listen. The repetition of the animal having a name that is the same name as their species is, for some reason, hard for me to read smoothly. It feels awkward and I’m never comfortable with emphasis, tone, etc. Also, both Who Says That… and Who Sleeps… have a page where the animal isn’t actually saying anything, but it isn’t obvious to a two-year-old what they are thinking, so I have to explain it in words. This breaks up the cadence of the previous pages. The board book has less of the story than the original, expanded version called What’s Your Sound, HOUND the HOUND? so while I concede that the expanded version might read smoother, the board book doesn’t seem to translate well to two-year-olds.
The illustrations are fun, with a simple, large-eyed depiction of each animal that my kids enjoy. I get the impression they want to like it more than they do. They excitedly pick it up and ask me to read, but once we get going, the attention quickly moves elsewhere.
SPROUT SCORE: ★★
READER SCORE: ★
AUTHOR: MO WILLEMS
ILLUSTRATOR: MO WILLEMS
FOR AGES: 0-4
For more about the author and Who Says That, CAT the CAT?, go here.