Monday, September 11, 2023

Today's read... My Cat Does Ballet by Robert Heidbreder

Today's read had me with the title and cover. A cat performing ballet...that just has to be a winner, right? I'm not sure whether to expect lots of humor or heart. Or maybe, a bit of both? Either way, I'm sure this one is going to be a fun and adorable read.

by Robert Heidbreder
Illustrated by Matt Schu
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

OCTOBER 17th!!!

A boy shares his love of ballet with his cat in this adorable picture book that leaps and glides through ballet terms, famous dancers, and the special bond between a young dancer and his pet.

Some cats pounce, snooze, or climb up the curtains. But one boy has a pet cat that does ballet, jumping after flies in perfect grands jetés and gliding across floors with smooth glissades. Perhaps they can teach you and your cat to do ballet too! This joyful and hilariously illustrated story is a charming pas de deux for felines and their friends.

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Young readers will try to teach their own pets graceful ballet steps after diving into this book.

At school, the kids constantly talk about their cats and all the things they do. A boy, of course, can't stay out of the mix, especially when his cat can perform grand jetes and more. It's hard to be sure if anyone believes everything he says, though. So he decides to invite everyone with their cats to visit him at home and see if they can be taught ballet as well.

This is such a light-hearted, fun read. Pet owners will have no problem understanding all the antics cats (and a dog) can come up with. As each kid tells the latest actions of their favorite feline, the illustrations let the moment come to life...and that will put a smile on younger listeners' faces. The boy just pops in sporadically with the sophisticated dance moves his cat performs. This will come across a bit as braggy and almost seem as if the boy says it just to join in on the conversation and catch attention. But this book has even more in store.

It's a little silly and humorous, but there are gentle messages and facts at play. At the end of the book, the reader will discover that each kid's name is derived from a famous ballet dancer. There's a short summary of the accomplishments of each one. Then, the various steps and moves mentioned in the book are quickly described, so young listeners can try to do these moves themselves. More or less. It's definitely a nice way to slide in a little information without hinting at anything during the story itself.

These are all cats to adore, and many readers will wish they could have such a talented friend themselves.

And here they are...

Robert Heidbreder was born in Quincy, Illinois, and later moved to Vancouver, BC, where he became an award-winning primary school teacher. Living in Vancouver, he discovered his love of ballet. He attends as many performances as he and his wife can. Their two cats sadly have to stay at home. My Cat Does Ballet is his twenty-first picture book. Visit him at

Matt Schu is the illustrator of Cut!: How Lotte Reiniger and a Pair of Scissors Revolutionized Animation by C.E. Winters and My Cat Does Ballet by Robert Heidbreder. Due to growing up in the Pacific Northwest, he draws a lot of trees, houses, and cloudy skies. He lives with his cat in Portland, Oregon, and she can do an impressive tour en l’air. Visit him at


Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a fun book kids will like, especially ones who like cats.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL! In my seminars, I joke about a book with dancing cats, but there really is one.