Review: This Book Just Stole my Cat! by Richard Byrne
Most books are well-behaved. This is not most books. Ben and his cat are playing tickle chase across a double-page spread when cat disappears into the middle of the book. He’s been sucked into the space between the two pages.
Ben asks his friend for help, then he calls the rescuers, but everybody disappears into the middle of the book. Finally Ben appeals to the reader to tickle the pages and everyone who was missing is spat back out.
A witty and wonderful picture-book which encourages children to think about the mechanics of a book.
We’re often so busy telling the story that we forget what it was like to be a tiny reader. Small people want to learn about every part of the book, from the ISBN to the credits to the fold between pages. What if instead of going safely from page to page, the characters got swallowed up by the gap in the middle? It may not be something an adult would ask, but children want answers to these questions. The result, as it turns out, is genius.
The story invites the reader to be an active participant in the magic, much like a pantomime asking the audience to clap their hands. This is a lovely way of telling stories, especially to children young enough to (almost) believe that the story might be different if they don’t take part.
I love the bright colour-palette and the bold illustrations. Simple backdrops make an excellent setting for a story filled with action and lots of the story is told through the character’s facial expressions.
This would also be a brilliant book to use to think about the difference between character, reader and narrator. The story draws attention to the reader (often an invisible participant) and this might encourage readers to think about who else is present when we tell a story.
An innovative and lively story which is perfect for reading out loud. Expect lots of laughs and plenty of curiosity.
Thanks to Oxford University Press for my gifted copy of This Book Just Stole My Cat. Opinions my own.