Matilda's Cat

Overview

This delightful picture book with Emily Gravett’s signature twist ending sweetly depicts the relationship between a child and her beloved pet.

Matilda is desperate to figure out what her cat will enjoy. She tries everything she can think of: climbing trees, playing with wool, even tea parties and dress-up games, but as Matilda gets more and more creative in her entertainment attempts, her cat moves from unimpressed to terrified. Will Matilda ...

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Overview

This delightful picture book with Emily Gravett’s signature twist ending sweetly depicts the relationship between a child and her beloved pet.

Matilda is desperate to figure out what her cat will enjoy. She tries everything she can think of: climbing trees, playing with wool, even tea parties and dress-up games, but as Matilda gets more and more creative in her entertainment attempts, her cat moves from unimpressed to terrified. Will Matilda ever figure out what her cat likes?

In the style of Dogs and Monkey and Me, this young picture book from Emily Gravett is an insightful, fond, and funny look at the relationship between a little girl and her cat that’s sure to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever loved a pet.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Gravett's charming pictures of the determined girl and her skeptical cat are full of funny details as the two struggle to figure out what they have in common.
Publishers Weekly
01/06/2014
Gravett’s humor generally runs from giddy to Gothic; in this story, it’s toward the sweeter end of the spectrum. Dressed in a cat costume, Matilda makes ambitious plans for her cat—and her cat ignores them. The text consists of pencil-scrawled lists of things that her cat “likes,” which get crossed out as they fail to prove true. “Matilda’s cat likes playing with wool,” writes Gravett (Again!) as the cat cowers behind the yarn basket. Matilda tries stacking cardboard boxes into a playhouse (“playing with wool, boxes”) and pedaling a trike (“playing with wool, boxes, and riding bikes!”); the cat leaps in the other direction. It turns out that a good cuddle is all it wants. The cumulative pile-up of failures, comic in itself, is augmented with many smaller giggles (a tea party in which Matilda gets all the treats and the cat is left with a banana). Both cat and child project a wild and humorous range of emotion, from the cat’s terror at a canine shadow puppet to Matilda’s perturbation that her pet would rather lick itself indecorously than participate in her best-laid plans. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
BCCB
"[Matilda] resembles Sendak’s Max both in her furry outfit and clamorous demeanor...The contradiction between the text and the put-upon cat’s comical expressions is the real hoot here, and young pet owners will particularly relate to Matilda’s desire to have her cat behave according to her whims."
New York Times Book Review
"Gravett’s charming pictures of the determined girl and her skeptical cat are full of funny details as the two struggle to figure out what they have in common."
starred review Shelf Awareness
*"The interplay between Emily Gravett's text and artwork are as humorous as the interactions of Matilda and her cat...Every child will be able to relate to Matilda's comical attempts to lure in her cat, and her complete inability to do so."
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Cats can be finicky creatures, as Matilda discovers while she tries to figure out what her cat likes. While dressed in a striped feline costume, Matilda attempts to play with her striped cat. Some cats like to play with yarn; however, as Matilda tangles the balls of yarn, the cat cowers behind the knitting bag. Perhaps playing with boxes or riding a bike will be more enjoyable for Matilda’s cat? As the story unfolds, the cat’s responses (i.e., fear, indifference, disappointment) to the different activities are expressed in the illustrations. For example, Matilda imagines fighting enemies and her cat is fast asleep. In addition, the text looks as if Matilda wrote the story legibly in pencil. She edits her story by crossing out the activities that the cat did not like. As Matilda brings her story to a close, she writes about all the things her cat did not care for and concludes with something that the cat does like. Her story draws to a close with a warm and happy ending that children will enjoy. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-08
A master of animal countenance, Gravett pairs an expressive cat with a busy kid and winks at the difference between textual and visual message. Matilda likes many things, including riding bikes, climbing trees, funky hats and fighting foes. Each spread shows Matilda playing at one thing while the text claims that her orange tabby enjoys it. "Matilda's cat likes playing with wool," it begins, as rosy-cheeked Matilda romps inside a huge, multicolored wool tangle and launches a ball of yarn toward the cat. He looks up with wide-eyed trepidation. On the next page, the words "playing with wool" are neatly crossed out and replaced by the word "boxes": The narration now admits that tabby doesn't like playing with wool but instead claims he likes Matilda's box-stacking-and-hiding game (actually he looks alarmed). This pattern continues, the text asserting and then retracting (with cross-outs) what the cat likes. A tea party dismays him, as Matilda serves him an unpeeled banana. A bedtime story causes stiff-tailed, whiskers-on-end terror—though is it due to Matilda's storybook, Gravett's own Dogs (2010), or the large dog/wolf shadow puppet casually cast by her chubby fingers? Matilda sports a head-to-toe tabby suit, linking cat and girl all along; the shrewd and skillful art implies sly underlying affection even when the cat's nonplussed, worried or asleep. Even Matilda's cat would like this. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442475274
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 411,930
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Gravett is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including the Kate Greenaway Award–winning Wolves and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. She is also the author and illustrator of Again! (shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award), Wolf Won’t Bite!, Blue Chameleon, The Rabbit Problem, Dogs, Spells, The Odd Egg, Monkey and Me, Orange Pear Apple Bear, and Meerkat Mail. She lives in Brighton, England, with her family. Visit her at EmilyGravett.com.

Emily Gravett is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including the Kate Greenaway Award–winning Wolves and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. She is also the author and illustrator of Again! (shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award), Wolf Won’t Bite!, Blue Chameleon, The Rabbit Problem, Dogs, Spells, The Odd Egg, Monkey and Me, Orange Pear Apple Bear, and Meerkat Mail. She lives in Brighton, England, with her family. Visit her at EmilyGravett.com.

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