Review of Inside Cat

Inside Cat
by Brendan Wenzel; illus. by the author
Preschool    Chronicle    48 pp.    g
10/21    978-1-4521-7319-1    $17.99

Inside Cat wanders its labyrinthine, multi-floor home, filled with windows of varying shapes and sizes. In this eclectic dwelling, the feline “finds a view wherever it goes.” Only the cat, what it sees through the windows, and some brick walls are depicted in color, while everything else indoors is sketchily drawn in a monochromatic charcoal-blue hue. This emphasizes the colorful sights and sounds seen through the windows — squirrels (which the cat thinks are “fluffy rats”), a helicopter (“roaring flies”), construction workers, children playing, a parade with giant floats (“WILD BEASTS!”), and more. As the animal walks through every inch of the home, exploring the views it affords, Wenzel (They All Saw a Cat, rev. 11/16; A Stone Sat Still, rev. 9/19) manages to keep the compositions interesting — an impressive feat, given the parameters of the setting. The rhyming verse is immensely satisfying and, much like the cat, strides forward rhythmically, always with the refrain: “Inside Cat knows many windows / finds a view wherever it goes.” Just when viewers are reminded that the cat’s seen it all, “every view and every floor,” it steps out the front door for the first time: “Oh.” A busy, bustling world awaits. Viewers see the house itself is shaped like a cat, hinted at on the opening endpapers — and the closing endpapers delight with another feline surprise. Just ask Inside Cat: discoveries are always around the bend for those curious enough to expand their horizons.

From the November/December 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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