Review of Cyril and Pat

Cyril and Pat
by Emily Gravett; illus. by the author
Preschool    Simon    32 pp.
5/19    978-1-5344-3950-4    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-3951-1    $10.99

Rhyming text and animated pencil, acrylic ink, and watercolor illustrations set the stage for a blossoming friendship between Cyril, the only squirrel in Lake Park, and Pat. Pat looks a lot like Cyril, but Pat’s skinny pink tail (and his rhymes-with name) reveals a less-beloved park rodent. Still, when lonely Cyril looks at Pat, he sees “his new best friend, a big gray…‘SQUIRREL! Just like ME.’” The two do everything together, and more often than not wind up annoying the other animal residents of the park (pigeons, ducks, a dog), who try to tell Cyril that his friend is a rat. Humorously dramatic page-turns always interrupt them mid-sentence, with Cyril exclaiming over another fine quality of Pat’s. “‘Oh, Cyril, can’t you see that your friend Pat is not like you. Your friend’s a…’ ‘Brilliant sharer!’” Eventually, Cyril does have to acknowledge the species of his best friend, and with that and some peer pressure from the other animals, the two part ways. Fortunately, loyal Pat turns up again in time to rescue Cyril from a bad end, and Cyril realizes that, rat or no rat, Pat is the truest friend he could ever have. Punchy and entertaining, with bold and bright art, this boisterous but thoughtful look at friendship makes an enjoyable read-aloud.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Roach
Julie Roach

Julie Roach, chair of the 2020 Caldecott Committee, manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more