Written & Illustrated by: Ashley Wolff
For Ages: 3-6 years
Topics Covered: Family, Interracial Families, Farm, Pets, Book Updates.
Only the Cat Saw was originally published in 1985, but it got an update this year! The family pictured now is actually a real family that author Ashley Wolff is friends with, a fact that I love. The family is interracial, and there are many scenes that smash gender stereotypes as well!
This book is unique in that the story is about the family, but the narration is what the cat gets up to while the family is cooking, cleaning, spending time together, and sleeping. The illustrations show the dad carrying the baby and hanging up laundry, something rarely seen in picture books. There is also a scene where the mother is chestfeeding a baby in the night, a very familiar action for many parents but one also not seen often in books. Having illustrations that aren’t sensationalized or even mentioned are some of my favorites, the ones that buck norms but don’t need to be pointed out in order to move the story forward. There is relatively little text in the book, and the majority of the cat’s scenes are wordless, giving the reader the opportunity to just explore what the cat is seeing. I enjoyed this book, and I think it will spark some discussions about what our pets get up to when we’re preoccupied with other activities!
This book was kindly sent by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are our own.
Since that first book was published in 1984, Ashley has authored or illustrated over 40 books for children. While she loves exploring different visual techniques, some things remain constant. You won’t find many airplanes, tractors or trucks in her stories but you can always count on lots of color, animals, children and a love of nature.