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Do You Have a Cat?    by Eileen Spinelli & Geraldo Valerio order for
Do You Have a Cat?
by Eileen Spinelli
Order:  USA  Can
Eerdmans, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

This oversize picture book is absolutely delightful as Eileen Spinelli poses a question to the reader: 'Do YOU have a cat?' Fantastic illustrations by Geraldo Valero complement the words with acrylic paint on watercolor paper. All types of cats with smiling faces are pictured in all types of poses and professions.

The inside of the front and back covers feature cats in different roles across a two-page spread, e.g. a black cat running with a paintbrush and a small bowl of fish, with the words: 'French painter Henri Matisse, born in 1869, was very fond of cats. When Matisse was ill, his favorite black cat kept him company in bed'. And a cat in a nurse's uniform with a candle in one paw and a glass in the other is tagged: 'Florence Nightingale improved the science of nursing in the 1800s and helped make hospitals more sanitary. Her cat 'Quiz' sometime rode the train with her to and from London.'

Inside pages reveal bright colored happy cats, against bright colored backgrounds. Rhyming verse begins: 'Do you have a cat? / A tabby cat? A Siamese? / A dainty cat? Or one with fleas? / Or maybe one who was a stray / and living in an alleyway?' And again the author asks: 'Do YOU have a cat?' Spinelli's pleasing verse gives actual names of cat owners through the centuries, including composer Domenico Scarlatti; Egypt's Cleopatra, who had 'a country full of cats'; and past-president Calvin Coolidge holding his gray-striped feline.

I just love this book! Don't be surprised if your youngster asks for repeated readings, and roams around the home and yard, asking 'Do YOU have a cat?' Eileen Spinelli has penned more than thirty-five picture books and novels, including Something to Tell the Grandcows and Now It Is Winter. Okay ... just one more time 'Do YOU have a cat?'

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