________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 22 . . . . June 27, 2008


Someday When My Cat Can Talk.

Caroline Lazo. Illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker.
New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House Children's Books (Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada), 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $21.00.
ISBN 978-0-375-83754-8.

Subject Headings:
Voyages and travels-Fiction.
Stories in rhyme.

Preschool-grade 5 / Ages 4-10.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

***½ /4


He'll tell me how he hopped a ship
and where he stowed away.
He'll cheer the wind that blew his fur
as he sailed beyond the bay.

He'll recall the fog on England's coast,
where seagulls wander free.
And he'll tell me if it's really true
that British cats drink tea.

Told in rhyming verse, Someday When My Cat Can Talk is the imaginative story of a girl thinking about the adventures that her cat could relate to her, if only the girl and her cat could converse. The tales the cat would share would tell of the cat's adventures having travelled from North America to Europe. Amongst other things, the cat would talk of sipping tea in England, attending French fashion parades, riding a gondola in Venice, playing soccer in Spain and relaxing in a field of Dutch tulips. Alas, the cat cannot yet talk, and so its thoughts remain a secret.

internal art

     Caroline Lazo's creative text is superbly complemented by Kyrsten Brooker's lovely illustrations. Consisting of a combination of oil painting and collage, the heavily textured, eye-catching illustrations are a visual delight. The expressive faces of the illustrated characters are a great strength of the book. Brooker makes strong use of colour, particularly the vibrant blues and purples of the skies and waterways. The colour choices lend a dream-like richness to the illustrations, perfectly suited to the vivid imagination of the girl who so clearly is captivated by her cat.

     The map on the inside covers of the book add to the educative potential of Someday When My Cat Can Talk. Similarly, the final two pages of text provide lots of extra information to help readers understand and appreciate Lazo's clever tale. Those final pages include additional details about the locations mentioned in the primary, rhyming text. For younger readers, this additional information will be necessary to fill in some of the gaps created by the scant poetic text.

     Lazo gets a gold star for the innovative nature of her Someday When My Cat Can Talk story, but I suspect that Brooker may well have earned for herself some more substantial rewards for the quality of her illustrations. Indeed, I suggest that Brooker should begin to clear a space on her mantle shelf for the awards that might soon be coming her way.

     Someday When My Cat Can Talk is highly recommended for imaginative young children and, indeed, for cat lovers of all ages.

Highly Recommended.

Despite enjoying this book, Gregory Bryan is not a "cat person." Indeed, he is allergic to cats. When he is not sneezing because of cat hair, he teaches children's literature in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.