The King Cat
By Marta Altes
Published by Macmillan Children’s Books
If you have ever owned a cat then you will love this book. This book is hilarious and though it focuses on a cat having to share his home with a new dog, there is a gentle morale message about learning to share for young readers.
This cat is the king of his house, as most cats are. Cat explains how he does so much for his people; keeping them entertained, sleeping in the day to protect them at night and just being super cute! But something happens one morning, has Cat done something to upset his people because why, oh why would they get a dog?! Cat can’t understand why this has happened because this dog is annoying, disgusting and can be quite stupid. As Cat is a good king, he tries to give Dog a proper welcome but he doesn’t seem to understand the rules of Cat’s house. Even his people have seemed to have forgotten him. Cat has had enough and tells Dog he doesn’t want him there but Dog wanders off with Cat believing he’s finally taken the hint and gone on his way. But readers will know that he has just simply gone out for a walk.
Finally everything is back to normal for Cat to enjoy all his sleeping places, however it isn’t long before Cat begins to think it’s a little bit too quiet and Cat begins to feel sad. But when Dog returns, Cat knows its okay to make new rules and to make them together with Dog - but of course he’s still the king of the house!
Marta Altes’ illustrations are very sweet with the limited colour palette of muted colours. A lot of the pages focus on the actions of just Cat and Dog, and readers will immediately identify with Cat as his comfortable existence is turned upside down by an annoying Dog. Children may also pick up on the altered end papers; at the front, it shows the living area with pictures of just Cat, but at the end of the book, pictures of Dog have been added, with Cat and Dog curled up together on the couch.
The words are written from Cat’s point of view and creates humour when he explains what he does for his people and when he expresses his disdain for Dog. This book could be used for teaching young children about the arrival of a new sibling and learning to share or for any new arrival to a home, i.e a pet.
If you are new to Marta Altes, I highly recommend My Grandpa, her debut book with Macmillan, which is about the special relationship between an elderly grandfather and grandson. A unique look at old age through the eyes of a young bear - I found it throughly moving.
The King Cat is recommended for ages 4 and over and has been out since late February and if you haven’t read it, it would make a great addition to any bookcase or for any cat lover! The King Cat is to available now in all good bookshops and available online here.