My sister teaches kindergarten, and for Christmas she gave me this book with a note that said, “This book has become a class favorite, and it’s a real nail biter!” I can see why! I can’t remember “reading” a children’s book as adorable and clever as this one. I put “reading” in quotes because it contains very few words. The title indicates that kitty learns his ABCs “the Hard Way,” because there are mostly pictures that go along with each letter of the alphabet; however, it’s not just random A is for aardvark, B is for banana type stuff. This book manages to also tell the story of the little cat’s adventures as he gets lost, encounters dangers, and is eventually led back home.
To give you a flavor of what it’s like, check out this video. Don’t worry, it only takes you through “G,” so there’s lots more fun to come.
There are some really funny sight gags, such as when the chicken (C) gets startled by a dragon (D) and an egg (E) pops out of her. For the remainder of the story the egg can be seen running alongside the rest of the characters with tiny little egg-sized legs (and in one instance, parachuting). A laugh out loud moment for me was when the author interrupts the action so the whole gang can take a break and use the restroom (R).
I’m a big fan of Patrick McDonnell’s “Mutts” comic, even though sometimes it’s just drawings of cute animals saying cute things–which, come to think of it, might make me a bit of a hypocrite considering how much crap I give “Family Circus.” But books like this one elevate McDonnell to another level by demonstrating his skill at telling a story. Also, he advocates for shelter pets, which I love!
Who will help the little red cat get home? I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll give you a hint that “U” features a special kind of equine. If you have kids or if you just like cute books, I urge you to add this book to your collection.
You will surely love it!