Patricia Hubbell's I Like Cats
Book review by Monica Friedman
Cats! Kitties! Kittens! Kitty Cats! Basically, a Lot of Cats
Do you, or a special young person in your life, like cats? I mean, really like cats? Really, really like cats? Even when they’re yowling in the middle of the night, knocking things off of shelves, and smashing your favorite heirloom knickknack? Then this simple, rhyming picture book is for you.
Every page contains a list, in verse, of different types of felines admired by the narrator: “Cats in baskets, boxes, vases/cats in all their hiding places,” are celebrated, as are, “Cats on table, cats on chairs/cats among my teddy bears,” along with cats of all colors, shapes, sizes, and proclivities.
The attention to details that will interest children is exquisite. The inside cover of the book is filled with black and white cartoon cats, each with a different expression and personality. The title page features thirty different cat portraits, each lovingly labeled with the cat’s name: Wishbone, Miau-Miau, Lord Buttons, and Gladys are some of these adorable kitties.
The story begins with the declaration, “I like cats,” accompanied by an illustration of a little boy setting a saucer of milk on the ground, while cats dash in from all directions to partake. Each page of the story has its own personality and color scheme. Earth toned cats on a green background are featured on the “Thin cats, fat cats,” page, where the fat cat is giving the thin cat an affectionate lick, to her apparent delight. On the, “White cats, black cats,” page, the kitties find themselves in an orange atmosphere, eying with approval a table laden with seafood, for these are also, “sneak-a-little-snack cats.”
Some cats are more realistic, while others veer into cartoonish anthropomorphism. The “parade-around-the-town cats,” drive cars, walk, and roller skate, wearing various quantities of clothing, while carrying a cat-shaped balloon. One of them juggles, another walks on its front paws, while a third plays guitar. Leading the parade, a beauty queen cat, wearing a tiara and a sash that reads, “Meow,” waves graciously. The cat “with socks,” also wears a hunting cap with earflaps and hikes through the snow (standing erect) with a walking stick and argyle socks while the cat “with kittens” pushes a full stroller and carries a diaper bag bulging with bottles and toys.
For children who are just learning to read, those working on the intricacies of rhyme, or those who simple adore as many cats as they can get their hands on, I Like Cats is a playful romp through a world that exists solely for the pleasure of cat lovers. There is nothing of importance except for the ubiquitous cat. Further, the cats, we learn in the end, return the narrator’s admiration. Accompanied by a drawing of a little boy, in a carriage with a cat (pulled by a dog) leading another parade of cats, the story concludes, “I like cats, it’s plan to see. I like cats—” and, on the final page, with a sepia toned illustration of a little boy holding a cat, which licks his face, “and CATS LIKE ME.”
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