Review Blog

Mar 21 2012

Sam the cat by Sam Bowering and Andrew McLean

cover image

Working Title Press, 2012. ISBN 978 1 921504 29 7
Warmly recommended. Picture book. Cats. With a gentle touch, both author and illustrator tell the story of a cat called Sam, seemingly displaced in his parents' affection by the arrival of a new baby. Unable to reach a decision about its name, they take the cat's name, Sam, for the baby and find another name for the cat. The cat thinks up some names for himself, but none of these is used, rather he is given the name of Jack. Miffed, he runs out of the house one night and becomes lost, rather forlornly sitting on a building's steps before his kind owner finds him and takes him back home, where all is forgiven. The cat learns to like his new name, especially when it is used when he is fed. The water colour illustrations underline the cat's sensitivities as he gasps with fright at the parents using his name, or cowers in fear at the gang of stray cats moving in on him when he is lost. And the last picture of the cat brings all the family together again.
A charming story of a new arrival in the family and some of the resentment which may occur, this tale will be a great starter of discussions about family life, especially when that family introduces a new member. Using an animal as the protagonist is a fun way to introduce the theme, whether it be in the classroom or at home, and children will simply love the story of the cat called Jack once called Sam, especially as it relates to the author, Sam Bowering.
Fran Knight

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