REVIEW: THEY ALL SAW A CAT, BY BRENDAN WENZEL

theyallsawacatThey All Saw A Cat
By Brendan Wenzel
Published by Chronicle Books

The concept of Caldecott Honor book They All Saw A Cat is genius, and came to us at a very appropriate time. Lately, around our house, we’ve been talking a lot about perception of different sorts, so a book about how various animals see a cat, from their different places in the world, is perfect. We’ve also recently adopted a rescue cat, and have spent much time looking up how cats (followed by an endless number of other animals) see.

However, there’s some inconsistency in the meaning of the word “saw”: In some cases, such as the snake, who sees in heat signatures, “saw” means how the animal actually sees the cat, in reds, yellows and blues; in others “saw” refers to perception, such as with the mouse, who sees the cat as a jagged, terrifying demon-type predator, or the flea, who seems to just see the cat as huge; and still in others, as with the fox, we get vignettes, which don’t show how the animal in question sees the cat at all, really. (The cat, in the fox image, does wear an exaggerated bell, which I think is meant to show that foxes have excellent hearing, but they also have excellent eyesight.)

Visually, Wenzel attacks a wide range of styes and mediums here, with a varying (though generally high) degree of success; being familiar with some of Wenzel’s collaborations (this is his debut solo outing), I found the artwork here to lack a certain polish or finesse that he can usually be counted on to deliver. The very minimal text is excellent, with great repetition that lends itself to bedtime readings.

With some focus, They All Saw A Cat could have been in line for book of the year; as it is, it’s a somewhat scattershot, though still entertaining, read that would be perfect for animal lovers, and budding cat people. With any luck, this is the first in a series, with subsequent books delivering a touch more focus.


Kinderlit requested and received a copy of They All Saw A Cat in exchange for an honest review. Read about our Review Policy HERE.

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