Catilda

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Overview

If you listen,

you may hear Catilda

singing sadly.

She misses

her teddy bear, Ollie,

whom she's lost

on a trip to the city.

If you listen,

you will hear

her parents creeping

up the stairs,

talking about the child

they have put

snugly to bed.

They hear only silence.

If you watch,

you will see everything

those parents

don't suspect —

everything

that a child's love

for a teddy bear

can lead to.

John Stadler

has told his loving story

with the lightest

of touches

and painted it

with the lightness

of air.

While her parents think she is asleep, a cat roams the world in search of her lost teddy bear.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stadler (Hooray for Snail!) inventively explores the lengths to which a child will go to reclaim a favorite toy. Catilda's parents think their kitten daughter is tucked into bed-feeling a bit sad, perhaps, having left her teddy bear, Ollie, behind in the city. They're wrong. "Did you tuck Catilda in?" asks her mother, as a serene scene of an oceanside cottage shows a tiny figure on the stair landing. "Yes. She's in bed, singing," says her father. As the two debate-offstage-whether or not to check on her, Catilda travels over sand and sea to fetch Ollie from the Statute of Liberty's torch. The wide-eyed, nightgowned heroine, reminiscent of Japanese anime, comes alive in flat, incandescent watercolors that lend her a look of calm even in the scariest of circumstances. Full-bleed paintings of calamities alternate with inset close-ups to create an adventure that tantalizingly teeters between fancy and dream. The conversation of Catilda's parents-the book's only text, set within dialogue boxes-serves as a kind of reality counterpoint. "It's awfully quiet up there," says one parent, while a startled Catilda surfs a huge green wave. "But we might wake her," rejoins the other parent on the next page, as the heroine lands on a ship's mast (visible poking through the clouds; the next page reveals the schooner). When she eventually ends up snuggled in bed with her beloved bear, her parents are none the wiser. By keeping the adventure solely from the child's perspective, Stadler conveys the full range of Catilda's emotions and affirms her ingenuity. Ages 2-5. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Catilda's parents think she is snuggled upstairs in her bed singing to her teddy bear, Ollie, which she lost on a trip to the city. But, while her parents talk about her being just upstairs, the wide-eyed little white kitten views herself on an adventure to find the teddy bear she loves. She soars with a bird over the water, rides a porpoise, crests a wave, sails on a ship, floats on a cloud, tops the Statue of Liberty, flies in a plane, and slides a rainbow back home into her bedroom. When her worried parents finally come upstairs to check on her, Catilda is fast asleep, Ollie finally tucked safely under the covers next to her. The illustrations, created through use of a watercolor-layering technique, are luminous and comforting. They pair companionably with the award-winning author/illustrator's text, creating a gentle, heart-warming story suitable for many bedtime re-readings. 2002, A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, Patterson
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-As a wide-eyed kitten is "safely" tucked in bed, her mother and father discuss the teddy bear their daughter lost on a trip to the city. Torn between checking on her to make certain that all is well or letting her sleep, they almost take a peek. If they had, they would have been in for a big surprise as Catilda has flown away on the back of a big, red bird. Clouds, dolphins, a sailing ship, an old-fashioned plane, and a rainbow all play a part in the rescue of the toy from the torch of a whiskers-sporting Statue of Liberty. When her parents finally do look in on her, Catilda and the stuffed animal are asleep in her bed with peaceful smiles on their faces. A cheerful palette of intense colors creates an upbeat atmosphere for this imaginative adventure. The watercolors fill each page and pull readers in with a close-up of golden-eyed Catilda's face, a giant aquamarine wave, and a bright-orange plane. Only the kitten's adventures are depicted; while all of the dialogue is between the parents, they are never shown. Children will relate to the heroine's desire to find her bear no matter what, but an introductory explanation may be necessary to ensure that they understand the irony of the brief text. Once they do, they will love viewing and discussing all of Catilda's escapades.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Reminiscent of John Burningham’s classic Come Away From the Water, Shirley (1977) and other stories in which the text and pictures tell very different tales, this pairs a hushed conversation between never-seen parents and a child’s silent, adventure-filled sojourn over the ocean to reclaim a left-behind teddy bear. While her parents talk about looking in on her, little nightgown-clad Catilda pads outside, hitches rides on a pelican and other passers-by all the way to the Statue of Liberty, rescues her teddy from the cat-eared Lady’s lamp, then has an equally adventurous trip home, snuggling back into bed in the nick of time. Stadler (What’s So Scary?<, \i>2001, etc.) uses multiple layers of watercolor to achieve unusual depth of hue in his flat, uncomplicated compositions, and his intrepid young cat makes frequent eye contact with viewers to draw them irresistibly into the action. Deceptively simple at first glance, this suspenseful episode will keep a surprising range of readers rapt. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442429390
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/3/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 982,980
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Stadler's books for children include three Reading Rainbow titles and two Children's Choice selections.

His "Snail" books were chosen for the New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children and are widely used in textbook formats for schools. The Cats of Mrs. Calamari was a Booklist Editors' Choice and has been made into a permanent, life-sized, interactive exhibit at the Children's Museum of Portsmouth and One Seal was a Children's Book-of-the-Month-Club selection.

John says the art for Catilda was done using a watercolor-layering technique. In some instances, as many as twenty layers were applied to achieve the desired luminosity. He also says he sings himself to sleep every night, much to the chagrin of his wife, Nomi, and their dog, Sasha. The family lives in Lyme, New Hampshire.

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