Have you ever wondered what cats get up to when they go out? This stylish, cats-eye view of city living delivers a gentle message about the benefits of community and connection, and will appeal to children who enjoy wondering about other people’s homes and lifestyles.
Although he lives with his owner, Lisa, in a block of flats, Cat spends most of his time visiting the other residents and has established a busy but rewarding routine. On Mondays, he calls on a writer named Sebastian. Tuesdays see Cat strolling down to Mina’s balcony, and on Wednesdays he presents himself at Granny Yvonne’s, just in time for a roast beef dinner. On Thursdays he poses for Maud, a famous artist, and on Fridays Cat gets a regular front-row seat at the string quartet’s rehearsal. Saturdays involve an outing with his “dear friend Capucine” – a calico cat belonging to a neighbour called Amelie – but on Sundays, Cat is always to be found in Lisa’s flat. “Because after all, I’m Lisa’s cat. Just Lisa’s, and she takes care of me.”
Featuring a series of full-page illustrations with expressive, folk-inspired images by the Chinese-French artist Lea Decan, A Cat About Town takes an uncluttered approach to page design and is a visual treat. Text in a variety of colours helps children navigate the week, but the use of yellow may be a barrier for those with visual impairments.
Cat is an endearing character, and Decan’s subject matter and artwork will have wide appeal. However, some readers may find that the translated text feels rather flat and formal – ‘one always eats very well at Granny Yvonne’s’ – and it does seem to lack the rhythm and spark of the French original.