Dinah!: A Cat Adventure

Overview

From a remarkable new talent, here is the story of Dinah, a sheltered (and overfed) cat who escapes to have an adventure in the outside world. After being mistaken for a watermelon, a sheep, and a raccoon, Dinah finally recovers her identity as a beloved pet. Hilarious pictures complement the tongue-in-cheek text in this fresh, original picture book about family, belonging, and the meaning of home.

Dinah, an overfed, pampered housecat, falls out a window and into an...

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New York, NY 2004 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 32 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

From a remarkable new talent, here is the story of Dinah, a sheltered (and overfed) cat who escapes to have an adventure in the outside world. After being mistaken for a watermelon, a sheep, and a raccoon, Dinah finally recovers her identity as a beloved pet. Hilarious pictures complement the tongue-in-cheek text in this fresh, original picture book about family, belonging, and the meaning of home.

Dinah, an overfed, pampered housecat, falls out a window and into an unknown world, where she is mistaken for a raccoon, a watermelon, and a tiger before rediscovering her true identity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a delicate absurdity... imaginative compositions... Audiences...warmed to kitty adventures...will be ready to follow Dinah's exploits." THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"amusing picture-book debut...a journey of self-discovery...Comical, cleverly-executed watercolors illustrate the lighthearted story...explores universal themes." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL School Library Journal

"visually accomplished...In Nishimura's fluid, naif drawing style, Dinah looks both sympathetic and comical...her innocence abroad is endearing." Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
In this visually accomplished but fitfully told debut, Nishimura introduces readers to a cat who is loved perhaps a bit too well by her family. On the sly, Father, Mother and Boy all feed Dinah fatty treats (milk, eggs, even cookies), and the tiny kitty soon balloons into a furry blimp. When Dinah slips away from her family one day she's so fat that she literally rolls down the rooftops various onlookers mistake her for a scavenging raccoon, a hairy watermelon and, when she mingles with a flock of sheep, a predatory tiger. The appearance of a teeth-bearing dog threatens a very dark turn of events ("You look very different from the cats I know, but you are a cat," he growls), but the family appears in the nick of time to take Dinah home. In Nishimura's fluid, na f drawing style, Dinah looks both sympathetic and comical; an enormous, rotund body warfs the poor kitty's head, but her innocence abroad is endearing. The book falters, however, because Nishimura describes more than she needs to and gives her heroine more motivation than necessary; Dinah is not only a fat cat, but she doesn't realize she's a cat ("I thought I was Princess. And Baby. And Friend," she tells the dog). The author also leaves a thread hanging the humans responsible for Dinah's condition get off scot-free. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
From the minute she was brought home as a kitten, Dinah has been a pampered cat. Father, mother, and boy all spoil her, and their favorite means of spoiling is with food. It should be no surprise that Dinah is no longer the tiny kitten she once was, but is now a very big cat! One day, curious about the world outdoors, Dinah stretches to look out the window. She falls out, and rolls away from her family's home. On the street, she is mistaken for a raccoon, a hairy watermelon, and a tiger before she is finally recognized as a cat. Dinah's warm reunion with her family is a satisfying conclusion to this sometimes harrowing book. Kae Nishimura's watercolor illustrations are cozy and reassuring even at the story's most stressful moments. Readers are sure to be amused by Dinah's adventures. Parents and teachers may wish to tempt children to imagine their own pets having similarly wild times. 2004, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 4 to 8.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In this amusing picture-book debut, a plump cat accidentally embarks on a journey of self-discovery. As the various members of Dinah's family secretly feed her treats, they call her "princess," "baby," and "friend." Never having been outside, the pampered pet doesn't even realize that she is a cat. One day, when she is looking at the world beyond her open window, she falls out and rolls over the rooftops to the street. Unhurt, but lost and confused, she tries to find her way home. The strangers she encounters mistake her for a raccoon, a watermelon, and a tiger. As night falls, Dinah is chased by a dog that tells her, "You look very different from the cats I know, but you are a cat." At last, she hears familiar voices calling "Dinah," finally realizes that that is her name, and returns home with her loving owners, who know exactly who she is. Comical, cleverly executed watercolors illustrate the lighthearted story and effectively convey poor Dinah's plight. This book explores universal themes that include appreciating the security of a loving home, defining personal identity, and finding a place where you belong.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dinah is a tiny cat when she comes to live with her family, that is, until each one secretly feeds her tidbits and she becomes a very big cat, bigger than any other cat-except Dinah doesn't know she's a cat! Instead, she's Father's princess, Mother's baby, and Boy's friend. Dinah has never been outdoors and one day, as she tries to see out, she falls through the window and rolls far from home. As Dinah tries to get home, an old lady thinks she's a raccoon, a fruit vendor thinks she's a runaway watermelon (a hairy one), and a shepherd thinks she's a fat little tiger trying to eat her sheep. When Dinah meets up with a dog, he informs her that she's a cat and tries to attack her. Running away, Dinah wonders who she really is until she hears her family's familiar voices calling her home. Broad-stroked watercolor illustrations comically depict the very roly-poly, orange-striped cat, keeping Dinah's adventure humorous rather than scary for young readers. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618336128
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/19/2004
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Kae Nishimura is the author and illustrator of DINAH! A CAT ADVENTURE and I AM DODO. For BUNNY LUNE, she drew inspiration from her childhood in Aichi, Japan, and from the funny and unusual things that often occur on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, where she now lives.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    Poor Dinah!

    Dinah, once a tiny kitten, has grown into a very fat cat due to the many treats provided by her loving family. Dinah is Father's princess, Mother's baby and Boy's friend. Is it any wonder the cat associates love and security with food? One day Dinah, an indoor cat, falls out of the window miraculously rolling from rooftop to rooftop without injury. (Thank goodness cats have nine lives!) Dinah is mistaken for a racoon, a watermelon with hair, and a fat little tiger. Dinah explains she is a princess, a baby and a friend. While the author portrays Dinah's plight as humorous and it will be perceived as such by young audiences, there is a real element of fear in this story. Dinah does not know where she is, who she is and why she is no longer loved. Fortunately, Dinah is rescued by her worried family, who immediately bring the cat home and feed her a huge bowl of food. Hmmm--what a message!!!

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