- Captain Cat by Inga Moore
Captain Cat, nicknamed for the large number of felines he keeps aboard his trading ship Carlotta, lands with his crew on a remote island. The child queen of the island is thrilled to meet the cats, the first she has ever seen, and even more thrilled that they quickly dispatch the rats in her castle: “‘Oh, well done, you clever, clever cats!’ cried the Queen with delight as she inspected the neat rows of corpses lined up on the Royal Palace floor.” The Captain agrees to trade his cats for jewels and returns to his home port; his fellow traders, impressed with his riches, seek out the island to hawk their own wares but are hugely disappointed to receive in turn the queen’s finest treasure: cats. Back home, they give their “payment” to Captain Cat, who embarks on his travels with renewed spirits and makes his way back to the delightful island, now well populated with his cats’ offspring. Moore excels at visually creating idyllic worlds (as in A House in the Woods, BCCB 12/11), and this title is no exception. Both the cozy Carlotta and the beautiful island are charming places, and cat-loving kids will be beside themselves poring over the spreads featuring the numerous cats of all colors and patterns. The mixed-media art features Moore’s usual delicate engraving-line stipple, hatch, and crosshatch in partnership with informal and rather jolly draftsmanship in faces and figures; the numerous details in her rich scenes invite close inspection. The story finds its inspiration in an old Italian tale [End Page 227] (according to flap copy), and its folkloric style and the pleasantly conversational tone make the book an easy readaloud. This would be a cozy classroom readaloud selection or a comfy bedtime story; having a couple of kitties on hand would, of course, enrich the experience.