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How To Be A Cat by N. McClure

McClure, Nikki. How To Be A Cat. New York, NY: Abrams Appleseed, 2013. Print.

In line with Abrams high-quality art books, How To Be A Cat features self-taught artist Nikki McClure’s intricate cutout artwork and a glimpse into the daily activities of felines. Following a simple black-on-white color scheme with baby-blue highlights, readers are offered sixteen one-word lessons on how to be a cat, such as how to stretch, pounce, wait and dream.

Using images and single text statements on each page, How To Be A Cat tells the story of a kitten learning about its environment.  It awakens, cleans itself, and then, being playful, gets into trouble by attacking its adult cat companion, learning both how to pounce and how to be brave. It then receives a lesson in hunting—the art of simply listening—before exploring, getting lost, and inevitability being found again. The story therefore comes full circle, starting with the safety and security of life at home to the adventures and fears of the outside world and back home again where one can feast and sleep.

McClure’s cutout felines bear a variety of adorable facial expressions, allowing readers the opportunity to connect and fall in love with this sweet little kitten. Further, the vignettes playfully convey feline behavior and profoundly depict the relationship of a child and its mentor, encompassing the associated trials and moments of tenderness.

How To Be A Cat is recommended for elementary school libraries as well as public libraries, and would make a great book for story time. For, it is perfect for young readers, who, like the kitten in the story, are learning about themselves and the world around them.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Jessica Thorlakson

Jessica Thorlakson is a Public Services Librarian at the University of Alberta’s H. T. Coutts Education and Physical Education Library. She has a background in English Literature and enjoys little more than reading a good book and drinking some tea.