Sometimes a book is an all round example of what a picture book should be and this is one of them. Tightly written in few words, the language is as fresh as it is spare. Juxtaposed with pictures both strong and explanatory, the situations in which the winsome little characters find themselves offer terrific scope for the illustrator, so there’s a good variety of colours and action. With the central theme of enduring friendship, a smaller cat’s admiration and lack of experience make him copy his bigger doggy friend in everything she does. This leads to frustration on the dog’s part and an explosion of ‘copycat!’ accusations. But when Cat disappears for three days, Dog realises it’s better to do things with a friend rather than on your own, so she rushes round to Cat’s, only to find him in bed, covered with spots. Dog ministers to her sickly friend with the result that on the following day she’s caught the same spotty ailment. Now Cat can say, ‘Copycat!’ to Dog and take care of her. This book has a lovely resolution, which will help those frustrated by adoring younger ones.
Visually, original characters with a very modern appeal show an illustrator whose confident line and wash is coolly sophisticated while subtle yet bold colours create an innovative palette. The final, most important recommendation is that the three-year-old on whom I tested this, remembered the title and chose it from a pile.