Lynn: I have two determined cats. As I write this post, they are both trying their utmost to displace my laptop. They disapprove of my books almost as much as they dislike my computer, and they wage a subtle war against these lap thieves all the time.
Curtis Manley’s adorable picture book, The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read (2016), is giving me ideas for a new tactic in the nightly lap war: I just need to teach my cats to read! Manley makes this idea seem completely possible.
“Nick has two cats, Verne and Stevenson, and they spend their summers doing everything together”— that is until Nick sits down with a book and the cats do their fuzzy best to interfere. So Nick decides to teach his cats to read. He tries everything. Unsurprisingly, the cats remain supremely uninterested, as only cats can be.
But when Nick makes fish-shaped flash cards, he finally catches Verne’s attention. In short order, Verne is reading new stories all by himself. Not Stevenson, though; he’s a classic reluctant reader! Not to fear: Nick finds a hook, and it isn’t long before Stevenson has his whiskers in a book. After that, the three have even more fun together. “[Sometimes] they all read their own books and sometimes Nick reads to the cats while they close their eyes and purr.” Manley’s charming story is as sweetly funny as it is perceptive. Sometimes it just takes the right book!
Cindy: Kate Berube’s illustrations are full of humor and depict catitude so well, you wouldn’t know without her jacket bio that she only has a dog at home. Nick’s patience with his pets comes through in the illustrations, too, as he gently guides them to the love of books, reading. . . and illustrating. Don’t miss this gem.