Reviews for I am a cat [board book]

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

All the big cats laugh heartily at the house cat when he references his kinship to them. But he who laughs last.He's a small gray cat with green eyes and black stripes. His name is Simon, and the five big cats stare in disbelief, then laugh, when he declares, "I am a cat. Just like you." The lion explains that he has a mane and a tail tuft and a tremendous roar. The cheetah mocks Simon as "so short and chubby"; cats should be "tall and graceful." The puma proclaims that cats live in mountains, "jump high, and act tough." The panther says that cats are black and live in jungles and sleep in trees. The tiger patiently explains that cats are very strong and "very, very, orange." Simon is quite confused and points out the differences among the big cats. The lion counters with what they have in common. "Small, perky ears and flat noses / long whiskers and long tails. / sharp teeth and claws / and big eyes that can see in the dark." Simon points out that he has all those things. After a pause (paws?) to consider, the quintet agrees: "You're a cat!" Bernstein's distinct, slightly cartoony characterizations of her array of big cats are both educational and entertaining. The big cats are indeed large and toothy, but the portrayal is ever lighthearted. Clever. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Simon introduces himself as a cat right on page one, a seemingly obvious identification. Yet surprising and highly amusing page turns reveal an extremely dubious audience: a variety of bewildered, much bigger members of the cat world, who break into hysterics at the suggestion that this eager gray tabby could possibly be part of their family. No way he doesn't have a lion's mane and can't run like a cheetah, jump like a puma, or sleep in a tree like a panther; and he certainly isn't very, very orange like a tiger. Simon, however, displays to the cats how they, too, share such differences, before explaining how the whole lot of them share a ton of things in common. He itemizes them (thereby teaching these traits to readers). Simon helps everyone realize that, though he's smaller than the rest, he's a cat all the same. This straightforward concept is entertainingly executed in accessible, humorous sentences, while the digital and hand-painted animals prowl, prance, and play in a variety of perspectives that perfectly prove Simon's point.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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A stout, green-eyed cat named Simon meets a gang of much larger cats: a lion, cheetah, puma, panther, and tiger. "I am a cat," announces Simon. "Just like you!" The big cats greet Simon's announcement with wide-eyed, stony silence. Then-after a page turn-they erupt in guffaws. The lion explains huffily that cats have manes and tails, the cheetah that cats run faster, and so on; each identifies its own features as the essence of catness. Simon's reply is sharp: "So how can you all be cats?" The lion begins listing features they have in common ("We have sharp teeth and claws") and the big cats' tails and claws form graceful arabesques. "So do I," Simon snaps. "I have all of those things." The big cats are forced to admit that Simon is right; he is a cat after all. Bernstein's debut is a fresh, powerful twist on the tension between in-groups and out-groups. The big cats threaten, but her hero shows no signs of compromise or apology. And her spare, clean artwork shares the same sense of certainty. Ages 3-7. Agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 2-A small, plump gray cat, mouth downturned and green eyes cast upward at a row of tall animal legs lined up behind him, is a fine indication of things to come in this humorous introduction to the larger cat family. Simply sketched against blank white pages, each of five large cats stare in disbelief as the small one introduces himself: "Hello, my name is Simon. I am a cat. Just like you!" After a silly moment of group laughter, Lion, Cheetah, Puma, Panther, and Tiger each share a personal exchange with Simon, repudiating his claim. "A cat? Cats are black,' said Panther. 'They live in jungles and rain forests and sleep in trees. Have you ever seen a jungle?'" Simon has no mane like Lion's, is not tall and graceful like Cheetah, can't leap far and act tough like Puma, and isn't big and orange like Tiger. Having heard all their rebuttals, Simon expresses confusion. Each animal has touted traits not shared by the others. "So how can you all be cats?" Ah, but they all have things in common, too-"small, perky ears and flat noses...long whiskers and long tails...sharp teeth and claws...and big eyes that can see in the dark." And so Simon wins the argument. "So do I...I have all of those things...only smaller." Once he's accepted as part of the family, he joins them in "pouncing and playing, like cats of all sizes do." The bold humorous figures are digitally drawn and hand colored. VERDICT Bernstein's debut is fun, well crafted, and promising. The simple text and strong pictures offer an amusing read-aloud for small groups or individual children.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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