Review Blog

Mar 20 2017

I don't know what to call my cat by Simon Phillip

cover image

Ill. by Ella Bailey. Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471124136
(Ages: 3-5) A new pet brings joy, happiness and a few problems for the new owner. Where will it sleep? What to feed it and where to feed it - not the high chair as there will be food everywhere. The biggest problem of all of course, is what to name the kitten, maybe not Kitty. It may be difficult to call 'Kitty', when all the cats in the neighbourhood turn out for tea! The little girl tries Princess High and Mighty, but the cat definitively did not like the princess outfit. She tries everything from Pat, Tricia, Tracey and Betty but nothing seems right. Of course, at the vet's, she discovers an important fact - her kitten is a boy!
After trying Rocky, Arnie and Mr. Maestro, her cat tires of dressing up and of being called names that do not fit his character, so he leaves in a huff. She looks everywhere, even putting up Missing Cat posters all over the zoo. There on a zoo bench she meets Steve the gorilla, who follows her home and cheers her up. He messes up her room, enjoys painting banana pictures, and he even accompanies her to the Museum and a cafe. Unfortunately, the Bureau for Naughty Animals takes him away in the BNA van. To the young girl's surprise, her grey tabby cat returns home with a collar and a name Tricky!
Emma Bailey's delightful digital illustrations are visually appealing; they lift this simple story and bring the characters to life. She engages her young audience with her use of fresh modern colours, wide-eyed creatures and humorous scenes. Look for Tricky hiding in the gorilla scenes, carefully placed in the Egyptian room, the cafe and disguised as a BNA agent.
Simon Phillip's picture book story loses its purpose towards the end, when Steve the Gorilla enters the scene and takes over as the little girl's pet. Fortunately, the tale gets back on track when the lost cat returns home, appropriately named Tricky and prepared to be a great friend to the little girl.
Rhyllis Bignell

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