Picture Book Adventures with Flat Cat

Books Entertainment Family Featured Reviews

While my kids are rapidly exiting out of their picture book years, their love for a good story, comedic timing, and well-executed illustrations will never grow old. Recently Flat Cat entered our home, and the kids are in unanimous agreement that this book is the cat’s pajamas.

Flat Cat was born flat. He wasn’t squashed by an ice cream truck, or pressed in a waffle iron. He was just flat. Flat Cat can roam anywhere he pleases, out of sight, and out of trouble, and he likes it. Until one day he falls in the wash and emerges from the dryer, “adorably puffy and downright fluffy!” How will he adapt to his new life? And to what measures will he go to escape the cuddles of Aunt Harriet?

Image: Penguin Random House

Flat Cat is illustrated by one of my daughter’s favorite illustrators, Pete Oswald. Pete is the illustrator behind the Bad Seed series, and most recently behind another Pinault family favorite: Sleepy Sheepy. His books currently occupy a good chunk of our shelving, next to Mo Willems and Anna Dewdney. Pete’s work is as fun and engaging in Flat Cat as it is in his previous work. Both of my youngest are budding artists, and they are always drawn to his use of  a variety of artistic styles in his work. Nothing is truly flat when it leaps off the page like this.

Giving voice to the wonderful rendering of Flat Cat is a hilarious, whimsical, crazy story from Tara Lazar. I have to admit to having read her seasonal offering, Three Ways to Trap a Leprechaun, far more times than is probably reasonable, and am likely to do so with Flat Cat. Her rhyming scheme, choice of descriptions, and completely off-kilter approach to story telling is something I absolutely adore in a children’s author. Whimsy, wonder, and wacky humor in just the right proportions. My husband and I were just discussing this week that there are so many amazing storytelling voices in young children’s fiction right now, many of them excellent spiritual successors to the works of Dr. Seuss.

Here are the thoughts of my kids, aged 7, 11, and 13—as you can see, the Hyperbole is strong with this crew:

I laughed out loud several times reading this to my kids, and couldn’t avoid slipping into my groovy Pete the Cat voice in places. In fact, Flat Cat’s evolution from flat to fluff is reminiscent of some of the life lessons we’ve taken from that other popular feline series. And lest you think this book might fall flat, it’s not just all fluff and stuff. Flat Cat learns that what he likes and doesn’t like aren’t as simple as he once thought, and maybe, just maybe, there is room in his personality to be many things. I know this is a picture book, but I’m really glad my 13 year old read it with his siblings. He’s about to go off to high school in a few weeks and is rapidly getting defensive about his likes and dislikes! He could do with some “fuzzy-wuzzy-feline” feelings!

Flat Cat is produced by Flamingo Books  and will be on sale on September 19, 2023. 

GeekMom received a copy for review purposes.

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