From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2—For anyone who has ever suspected that cats have their own secret society, this amusing book proves it. Three felines prepare to read Cat Secrets
, a book so precious it's kept in a protective glass case. But first they need to make sure that there are no noncats around, and begin their investigations. They break through the fourth wall and directly challenge readers to meow, purr, and stretch. They take some convincing, and are so preoccupied with readers that they do not see a mouse sneaking around them, angling to snatch the book himself. The cats' willingness to read their secrets aloud hinges on one final test (taking a nap), which they proceed to do, giving the mouse free access to the tome. Czekaj's cartoons done in a palette of primary colors and with expressive use of speech bubbles and eyebrows make this a comedic gem. The book has obvious appeal as a read-aloud, with its instructions and large-format cartoons, but it has the intimacy of a story to be read independently. Emerging readers who have cut their teeth on Mo Willems's similarly chatty "Elephant and Piggie" series (Hyperion) will feel more than capable of tackling this book.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The cats are on to us! Three of them—a tabby, a black-and-white one, and a bespectacled kitten—are just about to crack open their book of cat secrets and read them aloud when they suddenly become suspicious. Addressing the reader, they present their blacklist (no birds, dogs, snakes, fish, girls, bears, boys, or mice). But apparently that’s not good enough. “It has come to my attention that someone other than a cat may be reading this book,” the tabby says. “Shame on you,” the kitten adds. To ensure the felineness of their audience, they ask the reader to perform a number of tests (meowing, purring, stretching), with Czekaj allowing plenty of dialogue-free pages featuring the cats patiently waiting. Czekaj’s irresistible cartoon art is both bratty and expressive, and his palette is exceedingly bright. What’s contained in Cat Secrets is never explained, but that’s OK—if there’s any pet that consistently behaves as if concealing a clandestine operation, it’s a cat. Preschool-Grade 1. --Daniel Kraus