It's Day 28 of our 30 Days of Picture Books. What part of holiday shopping trips you up? I always struggle with stocking stuffers. It's silly, because it could be anything, but I always try to find fun things that are inexpensive but not junk. Thankfully I came across an awesome post on Growing Book by Book about Literacy Stocking Stuffers, which is chock-full of brilliant suggestions. One of the best on her list is a library card! Such a terrific idea and best of all, it's usually free - a great way to give your kids a whole year of awesome content anytime!
Today's pick is by one of our favorite author/illustrators, Inga Moore. Captain Cat is her newest picture book, and it was destined for us since we've now added a kitty to our household. Sprout was super excited to read this one, and though it's longer than many books we choose for bedtime, he always stays with it until the very end -- the story is just that good. It definitely has the feel of a classic around it, from the way Moore weaves the tale together to the timeless illustration style that she employs for this, as with all her other titles.
Captain Cat is a trader who sales the seas making his living. The other traders make fun of him because Captain Cat can always be persuaded to trade his goods for a cat, and has a whole clowder of cats as company on his ship. One day Captain Cat decides he'll sail off to see the world, but he blows off course and ends up on an uncharted island. The queen of the island is so taken with the cats (she's never seen one) that she trades Captain Cat a wealth of riches in exchange for his feline friends. When Captain Cat returns home and the other traders get wind of his newfound wealth, they decide to make their own trades - but things don't turn out for them exactly as they'd planned!
Moore's illustrations are haunting, echoing the loneliness of the sea with the comfort and domesticity of a snuggly feline. One of the spreads that was most affecting for Sprout was the one where Captain Cat says goodbye to his kitties - Sprout was overwhelmed at the thought that the cats were going to be left behind, tender-hearted as he is (don't worry, it all turns out happily in the end). Moore manages to capture the personality of cats quite well, as she's obviously done a little first-hand research. And she spins her story with a practiced hand, mixing in enough action to keep little readers on the edge of their seat, along with a dash of humor to make for a satisfying resolution.
Captain Cat is a great book to snuggle up with on a cold evening, hot cocoa in hand and a fire roaring in the fireplace. Add this to your kiddo's library for a storytime selection with staying power!
Captain Cat by Inga Moore, published by Candlewick Press