Read All About It: Im-paws-ible? Cat attempts to step in for a dog – The Florida Times-Union

“See the Dog: Three Stories about a Cat”
Author: David LaRochelle
Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka
Candlewick Press, $8.99; ages 5 to 7
Like many engaging picture books, “See the Dog” by David LaRochelle plunges readers straight into the action on the first page. Though the title makes the subject of the book obvious, there is an immediate twist. It comes in the form on an announcement by an insouciant blue cat with rather large ears. “The dog is sick today. He asked me to take his place.”
Next, we have a simple sentences and a little action. “See the dog run.” (Illustration of the cat speeding across the page.) Then, we have “See the dog bark,” but the cat makes a mistake that will make young readers giggle. The illustration is a close-up of the cat’s face, its mouth open wide and a big “meow” escaping. The plot thickens, as the true nature of the cat continues to reveal itself.
“See the dog dig a hole.” With this statement, the cat balks. Readers see his internal dialogue. “Dig a hole? If I dig a hole, I will get dirt on my fur.” Eventually the cat relents, and readers see a giant hole being created … by the cat who is at driving an excavator while wearing a hard hat. Safety. Safety.
The fun continues in the same vein when the “dog” must swim across the lake to fetch a stick. “But, it’s cold and wet.” This time, the cat really goes overboard. “Help! Help! Save me. I am freezing. I am drowning. I am being eaten by a shark.” The subsequent double-page spread features no words at all. There is merely an illustration of the cat … standing ankle deep in a puddle.
A clever premise, a rollicking pace and exuberant illustrations make “See the Dog” a must-see choice for the kindergarten and early elementary school set. Check out the companion book to “See the Dog.” It’s called “See The Cat: Three Stories About A Dog,” and it garnered a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.
Author LaRochelle has written several other children’s books, too. His titles include “Isle of You” and “How to Apologize.” Illustrator Wohnoutka is also accomplished, with more than 30 titles to his name, most notably the Croc and Turtle series.
Brandy Hilboldt Allport writes Read All About It, a children’s book review column for The Florida Times-Union. She can be reached at [email protected]

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