"Cat Napped!" by Leeza Hernandez is a fabulous picture book for very young readers. The story is adorable, the words simple and direct and the illustrations expressive and colorful. Children will love listening to the story as a read aloud, and they will quickly be able to read the simple and repetitive words independently.
The book's rhythm consists of one page with two, two-word sentences with the following page a simple sentence. All three sentences rhyme. For example: "Shake cat. Quake cat." And on the next page "There must be some mistake cat."
Cat (we don't get a name) is prowling around the house and sees a comfortable yellow chair in a truck out front. Cat jumps up and falls asleep in the chair. Cat wakes up after the truck has left and is scared, jumps from the truck and gets hurt. When cat is taken to the animal shelter, lucky cat receives veterinary care.
The girl in the story, meanwhile, is making posters about her lost cat and calls the shelter. She finds out they have a gray cat and visits. It's her cat!
Kids from all backgrounds will enjoy the story. Many will also appreciate that the girl in the story has coffee-colored skin. It's obvious she really loves her cat.
The cat's expressions are easy to understand (this cat has expressive eyebrows!) and parents and teachers can ask children what the cat's expression represents. Is the cat happy? Scared?
Of course, the moral of the story should be that cats are better off safe and sound inside a house. That's this readers take -- and a reader who has rescued many cats from the streets.
Please note: This review is based on the F&G copy provided by the publisher, Putnam Juvenile, for review purposes.
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