Emily Gravett is one of our most decorated picture book authors, and no wonder. Her books are masterpieces of wit and invention, and she has an extraordinary talent to entertain, surprise and engage her readers. Matilda’s Cat is certain to be another favourite.
Matilda and her cat spend a busy day together. They play with wool and boxes, ride a bike, enjoy a tea party, dress up, draw, climb trees and read a storybook (Gravett’s Dogs in fact). Or at least, Matilda does, dressed in a pointy eared cat’s outfit that brings to mind Max’s wolf suit in Where the Wild Things Are. Meanwhile, her cat looks on in comically varying degrees of bemusement, alarm and sheer terror. It’s a beautifully observed study of a child playing, given the typical Gravett twist.
Though Gravett separates Matilda and her cat through the book – each on their own page – their interaction is dynamic. Finally, and just as the illustrations hint that Matilda might be about to transfer her affection to dogs, they are united in a gloriously warm and touching double-page spread. As with all Emily Gravett’s books, this story deserves to be read many times, and it will delight more each time.