Motherhood

Great Children’s Book

They All Saw a Cat

When hanging out with the boys, I often try to get them to see things from other people’s perspectives… “When we get onto the bus, we have to be quiet,” I’ll tell them. “People have had a busy day and might want to relax.” But it’s not always easy to understand, especially when you’re teeny!

So, I’m digging Brendan Wenzel’s new book, They All Saw a Cat. He draws a cat walking through the world — and how various creatures see him differently. A child sees a fluffy pet, but a mouse sees sharp fangs, a fish sees leering eyes through the fishbowl, and a flea sees a mountain of fur. What a clever way to illustrate the power of perspective.

They All Saw a Cat

They All Saw a Cat

They All Saw a Cat

They All Saw a Cat

They All Saw a Cat

What other children’s books have you been enjoying lately? We always have The Storm Whale and Clink on our bedside table.

P.S. 18 kids books with female characters.

(Photos by Stella Blackmon for Cup of Jo.)

  1. I love this book.

    Great books I love are Princesses With A Twist. Okay. Written, over the last eleven years by my girls and me. Isabella is now 14 and Sophia 10. I started the project and they were swept away with telling the stories of the princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks) – what happens after the Happily Ever After. Cinderella makes sure she is not the only one with glass slippers in the kingdom by making the Cinderella Glass Slipper Factory; Snow overcomes her fear of apples and ends up becoming An Apple Talent in the kingdom; The Little Mermaid defies princess norms and wears short dresses (of course, now that she has legs she wants to see them). There is more to the princesses than meets the eyes and that has been our joy and my willingness to include the princesses in the parenting process. Never thought I would say that, but it has been really great for the girls. I call it improving Princess Literacy!

  2. Oh my goodness! I love it! Such a great way to teach kids about perspective and remind ourselves quite honestly. I’ll add it to my list! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Deirdre says...

    My 3 year old loves In The Town, All Year Round, which is an illustrated, super detailed look at the goings-on in a town throughout the year. You follow the characters from place to place and find the stories yourself. I have looked at it a hundred times and I still find something new every time.

    https://www.amazon.com/Town-All-Year-Round/dp/081186474X

  4. Ramona says...

    Unfortunately it is all Brown Bear all the time with my daughter these days. Let me just say that I know what Brown Bear, Red Bird, and all the rest see before they even say it…

    (Also, has anyone else ever thought it is weird that when you ask Brown Bear what he sees he says he sees a Red Bird looking at him, but then when you ask Red Bird what he sees, he doesn’t say Brown Bear? Is Red Bird not looking at Brown Bear? Is it all in Brown Bear’s head?)

  5. Amanda says...

    I have been really enjoying Andrea Beaty’s books lately. Her books explore different STEM concepts, and are great for kids who are curious and have a “tinker” or “maker” mindset. There are two books currently out now, and a third is on the way (and I love that two of her main characters are strong girl role models)!

    Iggy Peck, Architect
    https://www.amazon.com/Iggy-Peck-Architect-Andrea-Beaty/dp/081091106X/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=G8Z1TJYDF6XK006NJWWD

    Rosie Revere, Engineer
    https://www.amazon.com/Rosie-Revere-Engineer-Andrea-Beaty/dp/1419708457/ref=pd_sim_14_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=G8Z1TJYDF6XK006NJWWD

    Ada Twist, Scientist
    https://www.amazon.com/Ada-Twist-Scientist-Andrea-Beaty-ebook/dp/B01I1HCF9W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472142061&sr=1-1&keywords=ada+twist+scientist

  6. LaQuetha says...

    School has started back in Austin and I teach pre-k. Pete the Cat books have been a huge hit this week. We had also been reading Silly Sally and there are lots of laughs. I can’t wait to read My Fathers Dragon with my class and check out the book you recommended.

  7. Yippeee! Brendan is a good friend and I’m so proud of him. So glad you have his latest book. xox

  8. Julie says...

    We started on chapter books around 4 yrs old. It is amazing how restless, high energy boys will sit and listen. Two of our favorites are My Father’s Dragon and Jenny and Cat Club.

  9. Jen says...

    Our kids (2.5 and 4 yo boys) loved the Pout Pout Fish. They were also fans of The Gruffalo and all of Julia Donaldson’s books. Other faves include Thank You Octopus and There’s a Nightmare in my Closet (a classic). Thanks for the great post and comments. I’ve added a lot of great new books to try out at the library! The Library is the only way I can keep up with all the great children’s books :)

  10. Brendan came and spent a year with my kids in nepal teaching them art. He has so many amazing gifts!!! So proud of him for writing this.

  11. Anna says...

    This is so lovely – I love the ideas and meaningfulness of many of today’s childrens books. my husband and I especially liked the flea’s perspective!

    • Anna says...

      And the goldfish perspective – so funny!

  12. Looks like a great book. My boys, 2, 6, and 8, love the book “What the dinosaurs did last night”. It’s completely silly and a riot.

  13. erin says...

    I work at an educational urban farm, so we have tons of great books we read to the kids relating to the environment/food. Some favorites include The Curious Garden, Diary of a Worm, Rainbow Crow, Wangari’s Trees of Peace, and The Empty Pot.

  14. Betty says...

    I Want My Hat Back from Jon Klassen. It’s absolutely hilarious for both children and adults!

  15. laetitia says...

    My 3 and 5 year old boys recent favorites are Chalk by bill Thomson and Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie de Paola. Both are only image books, which is great because they can “read” them by themselves and we spend a lot of time describing what they see on the images and what it means!

    • Corinne says...

      I’m always so happy when someone finds Jarrett’s books! He is semi related to me and such an amazing author/illustrator and person.

    • Marcia says...

      Thank you! This looks so fun.

  16. This sounds like a great book. What a great way to teach such an abstract concept to little ones (who seem to always be stuck in the egocentric stage of thinking). We adopted our twin girls from Japan so I enjoy reading Japanese fairy tales and children’s books written in English to them. That way they can be connected to the traditions and culture of where they came from.

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea
    http://www.jeansandatea.com

  17. MissEm says...

    That looks great! We love the storm whale. My kids are really into The Maggie B lately (an older book and excellent)

    • Holly Hemming says...

      The Maggie B. is my all-time favorite book from when I was a child 30 years ago. I kept my original copy and my kids love it too. Magical!

  18. Amanda says...

    The Storm Whale is soooo good! Solid recommendation! We also bought Big Friends and Granddad’s Island too!

  19. I love this! I hope it’s not weird that I have a soft spot for children’s books, even though I’m not yet a mother! But I serious can’t wait to start a collection :-)

    – Dara || http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

  20. Lisa says...

    My 2 year old boy loves all the Chris Haughton books, beautifully illustrated and ‘Oh No George’ is laugh out loud funny http://www.chrishaughton.com/

    Also, when its Daddy’s turn to read – they love ‘Poo Bum’ by Stephanie Blake – squels of laughter and giggles every time

  21. Polly says...

    Never heard of any of these, thanks!

  22. Jessica says...

    Gorilla by Anthony Browne
    5 minutes peace by Jill Murphy
    and
    The way to the zoo by John Burningham

    My aunt brought the three of them from London along with The Storm Whale and my 3 year old can’t get enough.

  23. K says...

    My little one (15 months) is obsessed with anything by Sandra Boynton. She’s a genius.

    I have a serious book-buying addiction and every since I became a mom, it has translated over to children’s books. We are quickly running out of shelf space. Any clever tips for storing children’s books in an attractive way?

  24. oleandra says...

    My kids favorite book right now is “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson. Such a well written and clever story. My kids are 2 and 4 and they both want to read it every night. It’s a really well loved story and character in England, not sure why it’s not as popular in the US. https://www.amazon.com/Gruffalo-Julia-Donaldson/dp/0142403873/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471962704&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gruffalo

    There’s also an animated version on amazon, free if you have amazon prime which is beautifully done. https://www.amazon.com/Gruffalo-Helena-Bonham-Carter/dp/B00IRKXV3S/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1471962749&sr=8-3&keywords=the+gruffalo

    • Anna says...

      The gruffalo is wonderful and also very popular in Australia (where we live). My son also loved “room on the broom” and “a whale tale”, also by Julia Donaldson and the same illustrator.

  25. This is so fantastic! I’m doing a children’s book drive for my birthday this year, for a Chicago organization called Sit Stay Read (they bring dogs to low income schools to improve literacy- how cool is that?!). Even though I don’t have kids of my own, your children’s book reading lists are so helpful!

  26. yael steren says...

    I love when you share children’s books because then I get them and share with my niece and nephews. I’m still in love with the Day the Crayons Quit series!! So if you have any recommendations that are similar in nature to that one I would love to know! Thanks so much! xx yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  27. Janae says...

    My boys (3yrs & 5yrs) and I love everything about Big Friends by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies. It has a great message of inclusiveness (two great friends hit a few bumps when a third boy joins in) and the illustrations and language are fresh and charming.

  28. Colleen says...

    We loved Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal about self acceptance, Ruthie and the Not So Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin about telling the truth even when it’s really, really hard, and Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller all about manners. We still quote them all quite regularly although our daughter has moved on to conquer Harry Potter, anything Thornton Burgess and every other wonderful series she can get her hands on.

    • Amanda says...

      LOVE Do Unto Otters!

  29. I love this idea!!! Definitely going to look out for this one.

  30. I LOVE Shaun Tan, his books are amazing! I had to study him in my high school art class and fell in love with The Lost Thing its just a beautiful story and the pictures are works of art. He also turned The Lost Thing into a short film and won an Oscar for it back in 2011 (this was up against Pixar). His books are ones that kids can grow into, and each one has a beautiful story behind why he wrote it.

  31. Not only children but adult should take some cue from that book as well. Most people are guilty of seeing the world their own way, and hide under the excuse of “self-love”. It’s good to “love yourself” and do what you really want for yourself, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of others. We as co-habitant of the planet should always remember that we are “co-habitant” and should therefore put others into consideration.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  32. A Unicorn Named Sparkle. It came out in July and my daughter loves it. It’s about not always getting what you want – but getting what you need. Super cute book.

  33. Val says...

    Oliver Jeffers books for sure! My 3 yo daughter loves them. Her favorites are lost and found, the way back home, and how to catch a star. I really like Quentin Blake books. The illustrations are so good.

    • Amanda says...

      Once Upon an Alphabet is a great Jeffers book too! Very clever, quirky, and funny.

  34. Cheryl says...

    Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka is a fun and quirky recent favorite.

  35. Katie_B says...

    “Quest” by Aaron Becker. There are no words, just these magical illustrations with lots of adventure-story potential. Sometimes my spouse or I make up to the story to “read” to my daughter, but it is the most fun when she takes a turn narrating parts.

    It’s part of a trilogy – I have not read the third book, “Return,” but we liked “Quest” more than book 1, “Journey”

    https://www.amazon.ca/Quest-Aaron-Becker/dp/0763665959

  36. Amanda says...

    The book “A is for Adventure” is awesome in a Dr Seuss-style, important-lessons-tucked-in-sneakily, get-outside-because-it’s-good-for-you kind of way .
    http://www.aforadventure.ca/book/

  37. Bronwyn says...

    My current favourite is Edmund Unravels by Andrew Kolb. It’s a really sweet story about a ball of yarn who is growing up and becoming more independent. As he starts exploring the world, he meets new people and has fun adventures, but sometimes needs his family and friends to reel him back home. The illustrations are really fun and playful, and I find the story resonates with adults just as much as it does with children.

    • Amanda says...

      My childhood friend wrote that book!

  38. My boys are older (10 and almost 12!) Yesterday, the eldest saw my copy of “The Little Prince”, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and grabbed it. It’s on his bedside table now. I just LOVE to see him reading, both of my sons read at night before sleeping. All those nights reading by their bed paid off.

    So, to all of you younger moms, and dads, keep reading to your kids. Most likely than not, they will love books, once they can read on their own.

    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

  39. Ashley says...

    We’ve also been on an Oliver Jeffers kick. My kids laugh out loud reading Stuck.

  40. Angela says...

    Finding Winnie might be one of the best children’s books to come along in a LONG time – it’s magical and I cry every time I read it.

  41. margaux says...

    my 2yo daughter loves ‘lost and found’ by oliver jeffers about a boy and a penguin who keeps following him around. the boy thinks the penguin must be lost, so he takes the penguin all the way home (or so the boy thinks) to the south pole. in the end, he realizes that the penguin was never lost, he was just lonely and needed a friend. it’s so sweet.

    • Anna says...

      Have you seen the movie from this book – it’s adorable.