The Just Visiting Cat

Mary Lou

Publisher: Trafford Pages: 16 Price: (paperback) $7.30 ISBN: 9781425145941 Reviewed: November, 2014 Author Website: Visit »

When a big, fluffy cat arrives at the door, some might shush the stray away. But Mom and Dad in The Just Visiting Cat – a charming picture book by an author and illustrator identified only as Mary Lou – welcome an outsized cat into their landscape and the routines and pleasures of their lives.

The story, illustrated with crayon drawings that convey childlike freshness, is composed from the third-person perspective of a child observing Mom and Dad’s interaction with the cat. Mary Lou effectively employs repetition in the narration as Mom or Dad accept the cat’s doings — such as sleeping on the hood of the car — by saying, “That’s OK … He is just visiting!” The final words delightfully expand that view and display a wry understanding of the nature of cats: “Who can say they own a cat? Aren’t they all just visiting?”

The illustrations are the real strength of The Just Visiting Cat. Each is replete with animals and plants drawn with detail, imagination and animation. Many animals reappear, inviting the reader to keep watch for them: squirrels that run up trees, shake hands or sport regal crowns; open-mouthed birds that converse or sing to one another; the family dachshund; and, of course, the big, fluffy cat. An interior scene and drawings of vehicles show a skilled grasp of perspective and underline the impression that the depiction of the cat as very oversized is a conscious and effective decision on the part of the illustrator.

On the down side, the text contains errors in punctuation and capitalization, as in: “‘Now we’ll always know where he is sleeping.’ Said Mom.” A good copyedit could easily clean this up.

Despite such issues, this book is a charmer, with real appeal not just for the picture-book crowd but also for cat-loving adults to read aloud.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Merced, California
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