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Maya and Cat (Caroline Magerl, Walker Books)

Caroline Magerl has a very distinctive style of illustration and this book does not disappoint. It’s full of cats. ‘On a roof, as wet as a seal, as grey as a puddle, Cat was rumbling, a rumbly purr.’ Looking out the window at the rain, Maya discovers Cat on a neighbouring rooftop. She tries to coax him in, with toys that might appeal and food. But Cat is aloof and refuses to respond to these overtures of friendship. When Maya puts a new tin of cat food in her pocket, Cat follows her, and the two set out to find Cat’s home, visiting several unlikely places. The journey through the town, with Maya giving Cat a lift on her bicycle, takes them through streets, a park and finally to the seashore. It’s raining for most of the book and Magerl’s illustrations are evocative and reflect the mood. The palette is soft and atmospheric. The simple text, set out clearly in large type, is poetic and rhythmic and the endpapers feature a crowd of cats who look curious and appealing. This satisfying and charming read is recommended to share with young readers aged five
and up.

Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW


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