Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Both visually and verbally, Rankin's (The Little Cat and the Greedy Old Woman) work calls to mind Gahan Wilson-she shares his genius for conveying and mollifying the free-floating nature of childhood anxiety. Combining delicately textured yet warmly hued watercolors with exaggerated typography that literally magnifies her subject's fears, Rankin masterfully captures the vulnerability of her protagonist, a puffball of a kitten who is frightened of just about everything. The kitten's mother, Mama Meow, tries to offer comfort by explaining that scary things are seldom what they seem: a "Screaming Sucking Monster" is just a vacuum cleaner, a "Giant" is just the shadow of the cats' kindly owner, Auntie B. But the kitten discovers his own sense of courage only when he delivers a decisive "bonk" to an "eensie-weensie" spider. That the "spider" is actually the nose of Auntie B.'s dog is a comic twist that children are certain to love. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
When you are small, many things are frightening, and it's only natural to turn to mama for assurance. For this frightened little kitten, Mama Meow patiently guides Scaredy Cat through such horrifying experiences as Auntie B's crocodile shoes and vacuum cleaner. As Scaredy Cat courageously faces a spider, children will delight in the surprise hidden in the illustrations. Through the use of shading and pastels, the author has presented the soft and soothing pictures format, which is appropriate when dealing with scary subjects for the very young.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-K-Scaredy Cat, a fat, fluffy kitten, is threatened, in turn, by a giant, 2 crocodiles, 10 wiggly thingamajigs, a sucking monster, and a hairy forest. She runs to Mama Meow, who soothes her with explanations: it's only Auntie B.'s shadow, the woman's reptile-leather shoes, her hands in pink rubber gloves, her vacuum cleaner, and her big dog. Scaredy Cat leaps to Auntie B.'s lap and hides in her knitting. From there she thinks she sees an eensie-weensie spider, actually the dog's whiskered nose, and bops it hard with her paw, driving him away in fright and surprise and gaining for herself the name of Tiger Cat. Double-page spreads of cartoon shapes in soft watercolors and seen from various angles are full of life and personality. The simple text is printed declaratively in all sizes of type from huge to tiny to express the story more effectively. A funny read-aloud for the timid and not so timid alike.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
"I don't like GIANTS," reports a small quivering kitten, but Mama Meow reassures her child that this particular giant is their kindly owner, Auntie B. The narrator also dislikes crocodiles ("Auntie B.'s shoes") and the dark forest that is really the four hairy legs of Auntie B.'s dog, Scratchpooch. When the kitten mistakes the dog's nose for an "eensie-weensie" spider and takes a swing at Scratchpooch, "Kapow!" and this scaredy cat is transformed into Tiger Cat: "WOW!/are eensie-weensie spiders/scared of me!"
The upbeat messagethat courage may be only a matter of perspectivelights up a cheerful comedy from Rankin (The Little Cat and the Greedy Old Woman, 1995), who shows Tiger, in the last scene, going nose-to-nose with a huge neighborhood dog. This lesson in assertivenesshardly clouded by the notion that a good swat is the answer to feargives preschoolers a congenial view of the things that frighten the kitten in gleefully expressive illustrations; adults may gain a new sense of just how big and forbidding the world can appear to the very young.