Cats in Flats
by Karen Chambers
Trafford Publishing

"But wait, Where is he? Did we give him a fright? He's not in the bin, Nor under the light."

There is a quiet Seussian quality to Karen Chambers' delightful book as it brings to mind the ever popular, Theodor Geisel childhood classic The Cat in the Hat, but with a gentler touch of poetic charm. And while Chambers' central four-footed character may lack the zany, and chaotic anthropomorphic antics of the more familiar feline with the striped top hat and bow tie, nonetheless, there is humor to be found in this story's premise of keeping a cat hidden in a place where it's not supposed to be.

As both author and illustrator of Cats in Flats, Chambers' creative efforts were inspired by her sons Alex and Nick, their love of animals, and the mischievous pets they acquired in their youth. The simple line drawings effectively enhance the choice rhymes, with a childlike quality reminiscent of Picasso or Matisse. Here a basic squiggle or curve gives perfect expression to the cat's face or allows the animal's body to transform into the shape of the surrounding furnishings to coincide with the lyrical verse. Amidst these black and white offerings, Chambers provides an interesting focal point. A wispy swirl of ginger, gold, and raspberry pink lends an eye-catching contrast, as well as a colorful hiding spot for the furry creature to nestle in cozy bliss.

The "Finding Cats Poem" that Chambers includes near the book's end, cleverly invites participation from young readers as well as those having this book read aloud to them. After considering a variety of hiding places for cats, the final page reveals an open platform for readers to attempt their own cat drawing. Ultimately, this is a whimsical, artful, and enjoyable reading opportunity for even the youngest of cat fanciers.

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