Heidi McKinnon, We Found a Cat, Scholastic Australia, November 2021, 32 pp., RRP $17.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781761121005
Heidi McKinnon delivers a little gem of a book with We Found a Cat, a well-deserved addition to the 2022 Notables list for CBCA’s Picture Book of the Year.
Two young children are discussing the identity of an animal that has arrived in a box. One child is quite sure that, yes we have found a cat, the other child is not as convinced and makes some thoughtful comments. Your own child/children/readers are sure to offer their own commentary on the ‘cat’ debate. This open invitation for readers to participate is, in my opinion, the main appeal of the book.
The conversational form of the story makes for a succinct text that is very appropriate to read to a younger, shorter attention span audience. In addition, the bold formatting of key words with the extra-large and coloured fonts of the animal sounds encourages an expressive out-loud reading.
Showing equal restraint and impact are Heidi’s illustrations. They are simple, bright but with a soft texture and match the fun feel of the book. Children are sure to delight at the ‘cat’s’ antics and spy the details that tell another side of the story. My favourite illustration is the ‘cat’ sprawled belly up on the family couch, head resting contentedly on the floor. It oozes with the self-possession only a ‘cat’ can carry!
This is a very clever conversation about cats that is a humorous and engaging read for young children.
Reviewed by Julie Bertola