A plucky stray cat takes a Grand Tour in Kate Banks' story of a family on a European vacation. As the family travels from one city to the next, the cat finds its own means--by bus, boat, train, truck, and bike--to tag along on the trip, visiting historic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Cathedral of Notre Dame along the way. Readers will pore over the spreads to find where City Cat is hiding in each city, and detailed backmatter explains the history behind the sites in each locale.
Horn Book Magazine:"A
small smoky-gray cat follows a family on its trip through Europe. She
hitches rides, stows away on boats, cadges food, and invites herself
scenes. As is the way of cats, she makes herself supremely comfortable
wherever she is, whether bathing in a Parisian fountain or picking her
way across the roof of Gaudí’s Casa Batlló in Barcelona. Castillo’s
drawings capture both the grandeur of great cities
and their human dynamism as people cycle, shop, work, rush, parade,
dress up, and even play the tuba. In each picture, we look for the
family, and the family looks for the cat. Banks’s text is confident and
rhythmic, dotted with rhymes and half-rhymes that
bounce off the tongue. “She sits on piers with perked-up ears / and
gazes out to sea.” The words pass the read-it-again test with flying
colors. A well-traveled child, armchair or otherwise, will spot Big Ben
and the Eiffel Tower. For all the rest, an appended
spread, both child- and cat-oriented, identifies the cities and the
sights, and a map lets us trace the family’s eight-city journey." —sarah ellis (Jan/Feb issue)
New York Times Book Review
"Banks’s verse narrative is as elegant and lithe as her subject, full of
poetic descriptions and playful, sophisticated vocabulary.
“City cat, strutting down the boulevards, taking in the city sights. The skyline, pulsing, bathed in light. An obelisk, a graceful arch, a gilded bridge, a sprawling park.”
Castillo, who has worked with Banks before, on “That’s Papa’s Way”
(2009), creates illustrations that are a good match for the author’s
evocative language. Her street scenes, with all their architectural
detail, have the intentionally rough, textural look of lino prints, and
her palette is an attractive and fashionable combination of rich
neutrals and bright reds and mustard yellows. In all, “City Cat” may
appeal as much to parents as to children, but there’s no harm in that.
One advantage human travelers have over beasts: If you have to pack a
suitcase, you can make room in it for this book as a reminder of why it
is we go sightseeing in the first place.