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Monday, January 19, 2015

Children's Books Review: A Castle Full of Cats by Ruth Sanderson

Hardcover, 40 pages
Expected publication: January 27th 2015 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

The queen’s cats have taken over the palace, and the king has had enough! Beloved artist Ruth Sanderson brings her signature detailed and lush style to this humorous story of royal compromise. Told in rhyme, and with dozens of cats on each page, this gorgeous book is sure to have cat lovers of all ages purring!

Once here was a queen
who kept a castle full of cats.
She loved the pretty ones and the plain ones,
the sweet ones and the brats.

     A Castle Full Of Cats is a special kind of treat for any animal lover, no matter if you're a cat person or a dog person. On the surface it's just a quirky story about a cat-loving queen, slightly annoyed king, and a few dozen impish, well-meaning but maybe a bit too eager to please, overly affectionate cats. But, if you take a closer look, you'll discover a whole new meaning to the cute little story, and a message cleverly hidden within its pages. A message about how important it is to compromise and respect each other's preferences and opinions, even when it comes to something seeming unimportant, like, say, choosing a pet

    The queen - a beautiful, talented and fashionable lady - is a big fan of cats. Her little furry friends fill all the corners, chairs, sofas, tables, bookshelves and windowpanes in the grand castle. They're literally everywhere. And much to king's distress, they seem determined to earn his love and approval, too. And so they try very hard - they warm the king's cushions, they play the piano for him, they race him down the stairs and even sort through his papers - but the more they try, the bigger a mess they create. And the king's distress keeps growing stronger. 

     In fact, the king appears to be quite discontent and reluctant to accept the affections of the many cats. In other words, he is obviously not a cat lover himself. And, if you look closely, you will spot many clues cleverly hidden on he pages of this book, hinting at king's love for dogs. And, it isn't until he finally brings home a big furry friend of his own, that the tension finally deflates and - by the look of it I think it's safe to assume - everyone lives happily ever after!

     This is a charming little story. There isn't a whole lot of text, but the rhymes are fun to read and the rhythm is right on. Without a doubt, though, the gorgeously detailed illustrations take the spotlight here. They are stunning and beyond wonderful, and they're so rich in different elements and full of hidden little clues and messages, you are bound to discover something new every time you pick the book up. And really, they deserve to be closely examined and appreciated. 

     Plus, the look on king's face as he is navigating his way around the cats is simply priceless. What a delightful read!

On a side note: If you'd like to see more of Ruth Sanderson fabulous illustrations (she is so talented!!!), please visit her site! Here's the link to a post in which she shares a step-by-step cover process for A Castle Full of Cats

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