Hal Schulz has written and illustrated a picture book for young children that proves that you can take a cat out of the city but you can’t take the city out of a cat.
Dakota – Dak for short – is a friendly, gray tomcat. When he joins his friend Moon, an aging house painter, on a trip to visit Malcomb and his dairy farm near Shallow Creek, Dak quickly learns that life in the country isn’t as bucolic as he imagines. Expecting to discover fresh milk, friendly cows and pastoral landscapes, Dak instead tangles with a bull, wrestles with roosters, slides in a mud puddle and meets some chickens bent on burning him alive. The city cat tries climbing a tree to find a safe haven but is discovered, and the battle of the barnyard continues.
Deep in friendly conversation about farming, Moon and Malcomb don’t notice what is going on until the noise from the scuffle gets so loud it distracts them and they come ambling, slowly, to the rescue.
Moon and Malcomb look almost identical with their blond hair, pastel overalls and jauntily worn caps. While Moon has a moustache and Malcolm wears round glasses, they are similar enough that young children may find it difficult to tell them apart. As for Dak, he becomes more and more disheveled until he finally drags himself to the car, eager to get back to the safety of the city.
Dak’s Country Visit would benefit from careful copyediting and more polished illustrations. The pastel color palette feels muted and the pictures, which the author/illustrator seems to have ntentionally left in rough form, may be confusing for young children. That being said, Dak’s Country Visit is defined by the warm glow of its friendly slapstick humor. Cat lovers, especially, will find Dak amusing company.
No other versions.