32 Pages Ages: 4 to 8 (+)
Inside Jacket: Cats. You either love ‘em or hate ‘e. But what happens when Mom loves cats and Dad doesn’t? To the delight of the cat-loving children, Mom keeps adopting stray cats. Poor Dad’s objections get more and more absurd. But clever Mom convinces Dad to let each cat stay for a short time. Once they’re comfy in the house, they never leave! One stray, then two, then three move in, and Dad is at his wit’s end. When stray cat number five arrives, Dad finally takes a surprising stand.
It’s a rainy day. Mom comes home, her raincoat soaked, but not as soaked as the black and white kitty in her arms. The kids are cautiously happy. Why? Dad HATES cats! He objects saying,
“That thing has got to go.
There’s no use begging. Don’t say please.
I don’t like cats. They scratch my knees.
They carry fleas. They make me sneeze.
They’re always getting stuck in trees.
I want it gone. Vamoose! Away!
I’m telling you, that cat can’t stay.” …………….
Mom knows her hubby well. She uses old-fashioned guilt.
“I’ll put him back outside.
I’m sure he’ll find some place to hide,
away from all the rain and hail
which just might drench him, nose to tail.” ……..
The kids help by adding the looks only kids can give when they sweetly want something. Soon Dad is relenting, feeling guilty for being so harsh and uncaring. But only for a couple of days, he demands, and then it must go. The family of four has become a family of five.
Mom rescues another cat. Dad vehemently demands that it go back to where it came. Mom plays her smart game, the kids add their cunning eyes, and Dad soon relents—but only for a day or two! The family of five is now a family of six.
Mom finds a cat hit by a car, jumps out of her car and rescues it. Dad immediately tells her to “Un-rescue it.” But a car has hit the poor kitty and he is hurt! Dad sends her off to the vet BUT, the cat can only stay until he is okay and then he must GO! (Say it with me.) The family of six is now a family of seven.
I adore this picture book and not just because I am a cat-lover. The text is smart, crisp, and lively. Oh, and humorous, can’t forget humorous. The rhyming text will delight children and parents as they read this book multiple times to their child. Dad’s objections are comical and the repetition is catchy. Sure, we know what will happen, but we love it every time. Poor Dad!
The illustrations add so much by wildly showing Dad’s objections, while at the same time letting us see what a teddy bear the man really his. But he does have his limits and Mr. Parkins does a fantastic job showing this right to the end when Dad makes his final move. The small details in each illustration add depth to the story. For example, on the wall hangs a framed portrait of Dad! Not long after, a cat portrait supplants Dad’s portrait. Little details like this can establish the mood, add depth to a character, and even refine the story.
The expression on all of the faces, cats included, can’t be missed. Look at the eyes and the body movement. If the book only contained illustrations, the story would still be discernible. Of course,That Cat Can’t Stay would not exist without the hysterical prose. One needs the other to make this book purr. And it does purr, just like a contented kitty who has just eaten his favorite meal, had a treat and a belly rub, and is now asleep on your favorite sweater.
Rescuing cats—and dogs—is serious and seriously needed. In reality, this is not a funny situation. People like Mom make a big difference for many lucky animals. This is a subject close to my heart so I am thrilled to reviewThat Cat Can’t Stay. But please do not misunderstand, this Krasnesky and Parkins book is well deserving of praise and while I love it for many reasons, some very personal, this is a fair review.
Picture books are often carrying important messages, though sometimes one needs to look closely to find it. For animal lovers the message inThat Cat Can’t Stay is at the surface. I think kids of all ages, from two to ninety-two, will enjoy this cat-tastic book. And dog lovers, well, by the time they have reach the end, they too will love this story.
Author: Thad Krasnesky facebook Illustrator: David Parkins website Publisher: Flashlight Press website Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 978-0-9799746-5-6 Number of ages: 32 Ages: 4 to 8 (+)
Copyright ©2010 by Thad Krasnesky, David Parkins, & Flashlight Press, used with permission
AWARD AND HONORS
Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion Winner
World’s Best Litter-ary Award Winner
Nebraska Golden Sower Award list 2012-13
Illinois Monarch K-3 Readers’ Choice Award list 2012-13
NY State Charlotte Award list 2011-12
Delaware Diamond Award list 2011-12
Storytelling World Award Honor Title 2011
Bank Street Best Books for Children 2011
Wanda Gág Best Read Aloud Book Award 2011 Honor Book
Society of School Librarians International Honor Book 2010
Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2010
NSW Premier Reading Challenge Book (Australia)
1st grade Read-Aloud Choice, 25th Annual Read-Aloud Day, Bridgeport, CT