My child LOVES cats. For a couple of years, he practically stalked one of the neighborhood cats. Unfortunately for him, his father and I will never, ever get a cat. Fortunately for him, his grandma owns a cat, and at least his parents don’t mind reading books about cats. So here are the children’s books about cats that we liked. Enjoy!
Cat is Sleepy by Satoshi Kitamura. If you have ever seen a sleepier cat than this without a sedative being involved, I will give you $10. This was the first Satoshi Kitamura book we fell in love with, due to his amazingly expressive cartoons. We have this in board book format for little bitty kids, but if Boy Detective wanted to get rid of it, I’d put it in my own library, and I’d give it to cat-loving adults as a gift. It’s so cute! Good pick-me-up. The other books in this series, such as Dog is Thirsty, are fine, but Cat is Sleepy is the best.
New Cat by Yangsook Choi. This book didn’t grab me immediately, but then I kept noticing it on the library shelf and it kept finding its way into my bag. Like it was trying to get my attention…? Whatever was going on, it worked. This is a great slow down and pay attention book. Mr. Kim’s cat lives at his tofu factory, and she really wants to get that pesky mouse! The relationship between cat and human in this one is so sweet.
Boris and the Snoozebox by Leigh Hodgkinson.
What I love about Leigh Hodgkinson: Her sweet, sly, and quirky sense of humor. Her mad typography skills. Her ability to use just enough words to tell a story. In this case, the story of Boris the cat. He’s soooo sleepy, and finds the perfect place for a nap… until the box gets shipped around the world to all kinds of folks who do NOT want a cat. Will Boris ever find that perfect snoozing spot? (Spoiler: yes, because children’s picture book.)
The art is collage and cartoons, wildly eccentric and lots of fun. It’s possibly one of my personal faves of all children’s picture books.
But Who Will Bell the Cats? by Cynthia von Buhler. This is a gorgeous retelling of an Aesop fable. von Buhler and her father built a small set in which to place her characters, which are essentially paper dolls. Then all the art was photographed. You really have to see this book, it’s so distinctive, and the cats are wonderful parodies of spoiled rich children.
Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Birgitta Sif. It’s so satisfying when a “lesson” book also works as a good story. This interesting book about a place where scaredy-cats learn to be bold and save their teacher is also tale of acceptance, healing, bravery, and personal growth. Cats are dropped off at Miss Hazeltine’s by people who call them all kinds of mean things: “Hopeless!” “Worthless!” The cats may have been shy and fearful to begin with, this rejection and judgment surely didn’t help them! Instead Miss Hazeltine meets every cat where they are. Even Crumb, who can’t even come out from under the bed. Miss Hazeltine’s unconditional love and acceptance is what ultimately saves her when she gets in trouble, because the cats she’s been healing are able to go beyond their fears on her behalf. It’s both sweet and extremely powerful, without feeling heavy-handed. Kudos to Potter for blending meaning and plot so well. Any cat lover will eat up Sif’s illustrations. No two cats are the same, I guarantee. Her balance of full-page spreads with individual illustrations gives the book a feeling of openness and movement that works really well with the progress of the story.
Cat, by Jane Kemp, Clare Walters, and Linzi West. Like its companion Dog, I think it only has about 10 words in it. But if you have a little bitty reader in your life, these are so cute and fun. It made me smile even when I had a very young child who did not sleep, which is saying a lot.
And that’s the list of our favorite children’s books for cat lovers! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing on social media or with friends!