As you know, I am very much a cat person, and I’m always on the lookout for books featuring cats, in any age range. We’ve recently loved Mooncat and Me, which I reviewed here, and here are four more books for little ones that have cats! All of these books were sent to me, but that doesn’t affect my opinions.
Cat Chat by Dr Jess French and Penelope Dullaghan, from Nosy Crow
This is a wonderful introduction to the body language of cats! Each page has a brilliantly expressive illustration of a different cat, and a rhyming description that explains simply what each cat is feeling (“Say hello cat/let me go cat” for example). I think this will be invaluable as a tool to show my toddler when it’s safe or unsafe to approach our cat, which is something I’m hyperaware he needs to learn – Tomte is a gentle giant, but he’s still a cat with claws and teeth! I like that there are more detailed explanations of how to interact with cats at the back of the book, with an emphasis on when to leave cats alone and how to get them to feel comfortable with you – it has just the right balance of teaching kids to be wary while also acknowledging that they probably badly want to touch the cat! I’m very impressed with this, and will be glad to have it on hand for the future. Highly recommended for those who own both cats and toddlers.
Ruffles and the Teeny, Tiny Kittens by David Melling, from Nosy Crow
A very cute story about learning to share both objects and space. Ruffles the dog is plagued by five orange kittens who want nothing more than to get up in his business and hang out with him, but he wants to be left alone. Can they learn to compromise? This book works on two levels, as a cute animal story, and as a lesson about friendship and sharing. It has an unusual design, in that there are several pages made up of nine smaller illustrations, which is a great way to show the overwhelming number of things the kittens get up to, and gives the book a nice sense of things happening over a longer period. The kittens are super sweet and their energy comes across really well on the page – overall, this is really sweet and fun!
The Cat and the Rat and the Hat by Em Lynas and Matt Hunt, from Nosy Crow
This is an exuberant and joyful book that plays with the old standard “the cat sat on the mat” for a gleeful rhyming caper about a battle for a bright pink hat. The cat and the rat steal the hat back and forth for several pages, with fun, bright illustrations that will make anyone laugh, until the arrival of a bat… with a fancy cravat! This is one of those books that would be best for playtime rather than bedtime, as it’s full of energy and humour, and I think it’ll be a real favourite to read aloud. I love the yellow and pink colour scheme, which suits the zany vibes right down to the ground. Raucous fun – perfect for those who loved Oi Frog!
Somewhere by Jeanne Willis and Anastasia Suvorova, from Nosy Crow
This book is one of those quiet, beautiful stories that says a lot more than you first think. Oscar is a little boy who likes to be left in peace – he escapes the endless questions his parents always ask him by going ‘nowhere’, to a place at the bottom of his garden where he can imagine anything and only has to answer to himself. But when he finds himself lost in Nowhere, he’ll need the help of a little ginger cat to get home – and maybe home has its benefits too. This is a sweet, reflective tale that will definitely speak to more introverted kids, and it would make a lovely quiet bedtime story. I fell in love with the soft, layered art, and the clever use of cut-outs that are just as stunning in their own shape as in what they reveal of the other pages. There are doorways, birds, beams of light, and more, and they all help to make this feel like a really textured world – in one case, an open doorway with Oscar’s family transforms into a family photo when the page is flipped. It’s just really beautifully designed. And the cat is adorable!
If you have any recommendations for picture books with cats, I’d love to hear them! We can always have more!