Cat Tale

September 2012. 40p. 978-0-06191-151-1. 16.99.
Gr 1-3–Hall’s book of wordplay featuring homophones and homonyms is deceptively simple in appearance but sophisticated in concept. Appealing graphic-style illustrations, printed in brightly colored, textured acrylics on paper cutouts, are set against a white background; geometric shapes can be found in most cutouts and in the shaded painted areas. The story follows three cats–Lillian, Tilly, and William J.–as they set off on a nonsensical word-based adventure. The rhymed text is written in short sentences printed in extra-large type. Nevertheless, in many instances the rapid change in meaning from one homophone to the next presupposes that readers will recognize the difference in each pair of words. For example, “They choose a spot./They spot some ewes./They use a box/to hide from bees./They do their best/to box some fleas.” In the midst of the silliness, the cats lose direction, stumbling through even more nonsense in order to get back on track, which allows Hall to demonstrate how he creates the links from one homophone to another. This instructive tale may be more useful in a classroom setting than as a read-aloud.–Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH

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