The Catawampus Cat by Jason Carter Eaton, illustrated by Gus Gordon (9780553509717)
Released March 21, 2017.
The cat arrived in town one day and no one noticed at first. Then a grocer noticed the cat who walked entirely askew, crooked to the world. He and his wife tilted their heads to match and discovered her lost wedding ring, romance blossomed. Soon others in town were tilting too. The barber discovered a new haircut, a housepainter created modern art, the librarian pulled a different book out and found a new passion, and a young boy discovered a new way to look at math. The town entirely changed, rebuilding their houses to be crooked and having their cars made that way too. They named a day after the cat and threw a big event. But in the end, the cat had a new way once again of looking at things.
Eaton’s writing is playful and fresh. He embraces thoroughly the impact of a crooked cat on an entire city, one small change after another building to an entire shift in the society. The picture book looks not only at how one individual’s point of view can change the world but also about how being flexible enough to look at the world from a different viewpoint can change an individual and improve a life. The entire book is hopeful, funny and joyful.
Gordon’s illustrations are a mix of collage and painting. With lighthearted cartoon style, they are immensely appealing. Done in subtle colors, they combine vintage clippings, photographs of objects and loose-lined illustrations.
A winsome picture book, this one can be used to spark discussion about our own catawampus approach to life. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from e-galley received from Edelweiss and Crown Books.