'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 12 January 2013

Review: Matilda's Cat

It takes Matilda all day to find something that her cat likes to do.

Firstly Matilda tries cat-like activities; playing with wool, hiding in boxes and climbing trees. Then she tries things that most little girls like; tea parties, drawing and wearing hats.

Will she ever learn what her cat likes?

Once I saw the cover with Matilda and her Cat, I was called by the book to pick it up. I couldn’t resist Matilda, dressed in a furry marmalade striped cat suit that is the spitting image of her cat.

Gravett’s illustrations are superb. They are an extra story to the text. The more the reader looks at the pictures the more they will discover.

The cat is expressive and shows the reader and Matilda what she thinks of the activities. Gravett conveys the cat’s fear, annoyance, dismay and ambivalence through facial expressions (the position of the eyes, ears and mouth), body language and most importantly the cat’s fur!

I delighted in the illustration techniques that Gravett uses to show Matilda’s mood by how a mouth or eye is drawn to display ferocity and exasperation. Or how deep in concentration Matilda is while she draws, by showing her tongue sticking out and pressed onto the outside of her top lip.

The illustrations of Matilda fighting foes reminds me Maurice Sendak’s character Max, from Where The Wild Things Are. Matilda, like Max, is dressed in a suit; body tilted slightly backwards, with arms outstretched, one leg extended into the air and a determined look on her face.

Gravett shows her sense of humour - or her careful product marking - by illustrating her story Dogs as the book that Matilda reads at bedtime, as her poor cat is scared by the a dog hand shadow puppet on the wall.

In the end Matilda does show that she knows what her cat likes. Ahhh.

Title: Matilda's Cat
Author/Illustrator: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Macmillan, $26.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 October 2012
Format: Picture book
ISBN:  9780230745377
For ages: 2 - 4 years
Type: Picture book