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So, What's It Like to Be a Cat?    by Karla Kuskin & Betsy Lewin order for
So, What's It Like to Be a Cat?
by Karla Kuskin
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Today's school assignment is an interview, so a boy decides to enquire, 'So, what's it like to be a cat?', to which a grey-furred feline replies, 'I'm very glad you asked me that.' Karla Kuskin's verse interview format pulls readers into the cat's particular, occasionally disdainful, perspective on life. And Betsy Lewin's lively illustrations do a wonderful job of revealing feline activities, poses and moods.

To the boy's expressed concern about the 'scary stuff' hidden in darkness, the cat comments, 'The hall is dark, / That's very true, / But I can see as well as you / when lights are on.' The interview continues to bring out the feline sense of freedom - 'I understand you sleep a lot, / but once in a while ... / I leap a lot.' When the boy asks why the cat rushes around, bounces and pounces, the answer is 'because that is a part of me. / Sometimes a feline / must fly free', a truth which anyone who lives with cats understands very well.

The interview even strays into what the cat thinks of its humans and vice versa. The cat's bottom line? 'I wish them well. / They are themselves / and that is that. / Myself? / I'd rather be a cat.' But we knew that already. So, What's It Like to Be a Cat? is a charming picture book for young catlovers and their families.

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