I love words. For me, words are the story. I love the way words come together to form meaning in beautiful and creative ways. Because I love words, I tend to avoid books without them. Don't get me wrong, I love illustrations too. It is the mixture of words and illustrations that creates a recipe for a perfect picture book. Imagine my surprise when I picked up Cool Cat, an illustrations only picture book by two-time Caldecott Medalist Nonny Hogrogian, and couldn't put it down.
Cool Cat is the story of an artistic feline, unsatisfied by the brown and desolate world she lives in. Cool Cat sets about changing her world using paints and brushes and a bit of imagination. Each turn of the page reveals more color and detail in the cat's world. A team of artistic woodland friends help Cool Cat turn the littered wasteland into a lush paradise.
My kindergartener adores this book and wants to buy a copy for her school's art teacher. A brilliant idea! When I handed my six year old a copy of Cool Cat, she turned each page slowly, studying the subtle changes and pointing out the new animal characters as they appeared.
In the last scene, Cool Cat has packed up her art supplies and looks to be ready to leave, taking a final moment to smell a rose. I asked my daughter if she thought Cool Cat was leaving now that her work was done. With the innocence of a kindergartener, she looked at me as if I'd lost my mommy mind.
"Why would she want to leave?" She asked, turning to look at the picture again. "I think she's just going to school." We flipped the page, revealing a small picture of Cool Cat napping in the lush world she had created. "See Mom, she's just tired from all that work."
I still love words best, but I love Cool Cat too. I love that my daughter and I could share this quiet story, pointing out the changing beauty and interpreting the illustrations in our own unique way.
Blog you later!