Picture Book Reviews: I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) & Luis and Tabitha

Two wonderful new picture books featuring felines on the review docket!

 

 
 

I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) by Davide Cali, illus. Anna Pirolli
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Expected publication: October 2, 2018 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Ginger is the weird one. She plays with peas, purrs at artichokes, and has a strange fondness for chicken (but only the neighbor’s chicken). Then there’s Fred. His greatest talent? Sleeping. Oh, and hiding. And when he’s not hiding, he’s conspiring with Ginger to destroy the house! Such is life with cats. . . can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em-if you love them, that is. And yet the question remains: Why are these captivating creatures so marvelously maddening?! From internationally bestselling author Davide Cali, this humorous picture book about a cat owner and his beguiling felines celebrates quirky cat companions, im purr fections and all.

I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) presents the tale of Ginger and Fred, two peculiar cats that drive their owner to serious frustration and distraction. Readers get to meet Ginger, an appropriately ginger tabby cat, first: the “weird one” with large green eyes, who “likes mint and chicken (but only the neighbor’s chicken)”, and leaving “little presents on the floor”. We then meet Fred, a black cat with bright amber eyes who “sleeps most of the time…on sweaters (preferably white ones)”, enjoys resting on the newspaper while his owner is trying to read, and knocking things over. As readers observe both Ginger and Fred causing a rumpus- and a pretty big mess- at the narrator’s desk, the narrator loses their patience with the cats and exclaims “It’s just not fair!”. But of course, as the title suggests, this is indeed a kind of love story, and before long, the narrator is firmly back on loving ground with his cats. Well…sort of.

Not only is I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) a terrific, sly and very funny picture book that is, due to its efficient word use and delectable art, perfect for a younger audience, but it would also make for a great bookish surprise for any cat lover or cat owner. An older reading audience who enjoys, for example, the exasperation (and love) apparent in Simon Tofield’s Simon’s Cat series, Yasmine Surovec’s Cat vs Human series, or Claire Belton’s I Am Pusheen the Cat, might adore the hate-love relationship that Cali and Pirolli gorgeously and funnily present in I Hate My Cats (A Love Story). Overall, what a marvelous read! Davide Cali‘s writing had me cackling and I immediately fell love with Anna Pirolli’s art (the cats are superbly expressive and hysterical); I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) is a definite must-read.

 
 

Luis and Tabitha by Stephanie Campisi, illus. by Hollie Mengert
Source: ARC courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 1, 2018 by Familius
Book Description:

Luis is an alley cat who has everything figured out . . . until he meets Tabitha, a beautiful indoor cat. Separated by a tragic glass door, Luis will do anything to be with Tabitha–even brave the dangers of a fire.

With adorable illustrations and undeniable style, Luis and Tabitha is the story of two star-crossed kitties who prove that true love conquers all.

In the picture book Luis and Tabitha, readers are taken along the journey of meant-to-be-love between handsome “society” cat Luis and a beautiful and refined inside cat named Tabitha. When readers first meet Luis, we learn that he casually lives at the fire station since being rescued from a burning building. Luis is adored around town, is often given treats and cuddles, and spends time with feline friends like Socks and Mr. Pickles. All in all, his life is pretty solid! However, everything changes the night he sees a gorgeous cat named Tabitha: their eyes lock and it is love. Luis and Tabitha belong together! But alas, a thick glass door separates indoor Tabitha from outdoor Luis. Undeterred at first, Luis tries to woo Tabitha and her seemingly unapproachable owner with pigeons (live ones), balloons, and even attempts posing as a polished lost cat to spend time with his love. Tabitha’s owner remains quite firm against the meant-to-be-couple until a brave rescue reinforces just how wonderful Luis is- and how true (cat) love like Luis and Tabitha’s simply cannot be stopped.

Overall, a winsome, delightful feline-centered story that makes for satisfying and happy reading. Stephanie Campisi‘s story is engaging and fun, and would make a good fit for preschoolers and up (the text length makes for just slightly longer reading, but the story and action zips by). Hollie Mengert‘s artwork is so utterly appealing and all-around lovely, sure to draw readers of all ages in and inspire them to fall in love with the two main feline characters. Readers who adore delightfully sweet and happily-ever-after picture books about cats or stories along the lines of Fuddles, The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon, Blue Ethel, or the Mr. Pusskins books might especially love the cozy, retro-classic illustrative style and seriously charming story of Luis and Tabitha.

I received copies of these titles courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own.

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