The CATawampus Cat
Jason Carter Eaton
Pictures by Gus Gordon
Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, 2017
From the dust jacket, “Sometimes all it takes is a small shift in perspective to help you see what was right there all along.” “Catawampus (cat-uh-wahm-pus) n. <1. Diagonal or at an angle. 2. Askey, awry. As in: The catawampus cat walked into town one day, and that’s when everything began to change.”
Do you remember the following nursery rhyme?
There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
This story has nothing to do with a crooked man, mouse, house or cat, but for some reason it reminds me of it. Maybe it’s the crooked cat – but this cat is catawampus, not crooked! That means he walks around town at an angle which causes a lot of the townfolk to look at him – and their lives – differently. Without knowing it (or, maybe he does) he changes everything around him – and at the very end he changes himself!!!
Love the illustrations – particularly how the artist incorporates paper clippings into his illustrations (which, by the way, has inspired Mom to make some new collages!) The cat is cute, although the way he is drawn, it looks like he walks around with closed eyes – but maybe that’s to show how aloof he is to what goes on around him. The print is a medium size and printed in black on mostly light-colored backgrounds so it will be easy to read for most kittens.
Rating, 4 out of 5 paws because like all cats, he remains unique and an enigma to everyone. Also, the illustrations are inspiring to Mom!!