Great Illustrated Books

Cat the Cat, Who Is That? (Cat the Cat series )

By Mo Willems

Balzer + Bray, 2010
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 0-6
ISBN: 061728403

With his new "Cat the Cat" emergent reader series, the versatile Mo Willems tackles the easiest of the easies. The first four books range from a total of just 18 to 31 words, proving that you can indeed do more with less sometimes. More laughing, that is. Cat the Cat, the lead animal, a light brown cat with big, round eyes and wearing a purple shift, dances through each book on her two hind legs. An omniscient observer asks the title refrain: "Cat the Cat, who is that?" We see a gray mouse in a yellow shirt, bouncing a red ball. "It's Mouse the Mouse!" it says on the next page. In balloon dialogue, Cat the Cat greets him: "Hi, Mouse the Mouse." "Hello there!" Mouse the Mouse replies. Romping along the green strip that lines the bottom of each robin's-egg blue page, Cat the Cat sees a duck in a beanie with a twirly blade on top. That's Duck the Duck of course, clutching his Pigeon doll. (You can always find Pigeon lurking somewhere in each Willems book.) Then there's Fish the Fish, blowing bubbles, who salutes her with a "Hey, Dude." In each book of the series, you'll find a wacky ending, character, or situation that will crack readers up. In this case, it's an unidentifiable, yellow, monster-y creature with four arms and three legs. Who is that? "I have no idea," says Cat the Cat. "Blargie! Blargie!" says the creature, eager to become a new friend.

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If you love this book, then try:

Arnold, Tedd. Hi! Fly Guy. Scholastic, 2005. (And others in the Fly Guy series)

Caple, Kathy. Well Done, Worm. Candlewick, 2000. (And others in Candlewick's Brand New Readers series.)

Christelow, Eileen. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Clarion, 1989.

Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George. HarperCollins, 1999.

Gravett, Emily. Dogs. Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Martin, Bill, Jr. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Henry Holt, 1991.

Rathmann, Peggy. 10 Minutes Till Bedtime. Putnam, 1998.

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories. Roaring Brook, 2007.
(And others in the Dog and Bear series.)

Waber, Bernard. Bearsie Bear and the Surprise Sleepover Party. Houghton Mifflin, Sky/Scholastic, 2000.

Willems, Mo. City Dog, Country Frog. Hyperion, 2010.

Willems, Mo. Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late. Hyperion, 2006. (And others in the Pigeon series.)

Willems, Mo. Leonardo the Terrible Monster. Hyperion, 2005.

Willems, Mo. Today I Will Fly! Hyperion, 2007. (And others in the Elephant & Piggie series.)

Critics have said

Once again, Willems avoids heavy messages and walks right into kids' daily lives with this exuberant, clean-lined, animation-ready title that's sure to widen his already vast fan base.