City Cat

By Kate Banks, Lauren Castillo (illustration)
Published on November 19th 2013
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Publisher
A plucky stray cat takes a Grand Tour in Kate Banks' story of a family on a European vacation. As the family travels from one city to the next, the cat finds its own means--by bus, boat, train, truck, and bike--to tag along on the trip, visiting historic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Cathedral of Notre Dame along the way. Readers will pore over the spreads to find where City Cat is hiding in each city, and detailed backmatter explains the history behind the sites in each locale.

City Cat is one of those picture books that works by matching up rhythmic prose and beautiful illustrations in a way that entertains children, but also educates them. The reader follows City Cat, who is a stray, as she stows away on a family vacation to Europe. City Cat gets to see the world in a way that appeals to kids: from up above and down below some of Europe’s most famous attractions, from the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, to St. Mark’s Square in Venice.

Castillo’s illustrations add an authentic touch to the book and bring Europe to life. As an adult reader who has never visited Europe, I appreciated the index of locations in the back of the book that give the reader a history of each attraction. An adult could easily use that guide to add an extra educational element to the text.

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