Thursday, September 16, 2021

Review: Cat Dog by Mem Fox

Here, on our little farm, we have a mixture of animals...and yes, cats and a dog are included right along with mice (which we, obviously, have nothing to say about). Today's book had me all smiles as it presents a trio of these three and their adventure...or something like that. This one comes out later this month on the 28th.

Ready to see if it's a treat or not? Then, let's take a peek!

by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8


Join an unlikely trio for some irresistibly funny antics in this read-aloud gem from bestselling author Mem Fox and bestselling and award-winning illustrator Mark Teague.

Once there was a huge, scary dog. Right?
Wrong! But there was a cat.

In this zippy, call-and-response-style adventure, a cat and dog are astonished to find a mouse in their house! The three circle each other while the story sometimes correctly describes their antics—and sometimes doesn’t. Young readers will love participating by pointing out which parts are right and wrong.



Excited screams of 'yes' and 'no' will abound when this one is read-aloud.

Normally, I write a short summary at this point of my review, but I'm going to skip over that and head right into 'this one is so original!' Yes, it does tell a tale. Somewhat. And it does include three characters, which should and do cause a bit of natural tension when placed together around a sofa in a room: a cat, a dog, and a mouse. While there are tale-like attributes, these pages open up the story and include the listener/reader in a type of guessing game. A one sentence question asks what is happening (for example: There is a cat, right?). On the next page, there is a very clear answer—yes or no. And then, the next question is asked to further the tale. The statements rotate from true to false, and through this, let a story...a very simple one...come to life. And even the ending molds perfectly into this style with its unexpectedness.

The illustrations play a huge role as they allow the tale to unfold with the questions, allowing the scenes to change with the answers (yes or no). They are well done and, yet, hold a needed simplicity in what is presented. 

I can see this one as a favorite in group readings (as well as solo ones). Listeners will quickly fall into the yes and no pattern, and be more than happy to join in with full enthusiasm. Plus, it allows them to explore the idea of what can happen and think beyond a simple tale. The ending even allows for a bit of discussion. Thanks to the simple text, it's also appropriate for the younger audience and will delight them just as much as those at the upper ended of the intended audience.

And here they are...

Mem Fox is an educator and international literacy expert, and her many acclaimed picture books for young children include Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug!Hello Baby!Baby BedtimeI’m an Immigrant Too; the bestselling modern classics Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Time for Bed; and, for adults, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She lives in Adelaide, Australia. Visit her at

Mark Teague is the award-winning children’s book author and illustrator of the bestselling Dear Mrs. LaRue series, as well as Fly!The Sky Is Falling!The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad WolfThe Tree House That Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg; and many other humorous picture books. He also created the art for the How Do Dinosaurs… series. His illustrated novel, The Doom Machine, received excellent reviews. Mark lives in the Hudson River Valley with his family.

1 comment:

Heather N. Quinn said...

Thanks, so much, for introducing this book to us. I am going to get it for my grandkids. We'll all have fun with it! Very original!