Author/Illustrator: Nonny Hogrogian
My rating: 3.5 of 5
Cool Cat wanders into a dreary land, armed with nothing but a suitcase full of paints and brushes. Around him, the land is brown, full of litter, and utterly unappealing. But rather than just move on, Cool Cat decides to do something about the problem. He pulls out his paints and begins to transform his surroundings, bit by bit. And as he works, the other creatures living nearby catch on and start helping to make their home somewhere they’d want to live, somewhere beautiful.
Cool Cat is certainly a proactive and positive picture book. I think it would be a great discussion starter, something to encourage kids to take their own action to make the world a better place. I also think it’s wonderful that there’s this large-scale teamwork going on with all the animals taking their own parts to help out. Plus, the transformation from flat browns to brilliant colors is quite striking. So yes, on the whole, this is an excellent book. I guess I just find it a little challenging to my adult-logic: the cat’s painting this whole new world . . . on what exactly? It’s a little surreal, but in a way that’s just hard for me to accept. That, and some of the animal shapes are a little weird at times. Generally though, the art is quite nice–a combination of pencils and watercolors that’s somewhat sketch-like and unassuming, but pleasantly so. I think Cool Cat would be a great read-aloud and talk about book for children in the 3-5 age range who are just learning how to help and work together.