This website is about two of our favourite things—books and cats—so it seems fitting that this week’s purr-fect pick is a book about a cat.
When my daughter was in the first grade, she brought home from school Marie-Louise Gay's beautiful picture book Caramba. We were already familiar with the Canadian author's sweet Stella and Sam series, and were thrilled to have another of her books to read.
Gay's stories draw you into wonderfully whimsical worlds. Her delicate watercolours are warm and inviting, and her characters instantly likeable. They brim with such genuine emotion and vulnerability that they feel like friends you’ve known forever, even if you’re meeting them for the first time.
That's why Caramba's story is so enticing. He's like any other young cat, except for one thing: he can’t fly. He watches other cats swoop and glide through the air, but he simply falls flat on his face.
“What? You can’t fly?” other cats say to Caramba in disbelief. “Every cat knows how to fly.”
It’s a feeling many children will experience at some point—the dismay at not being able to do what your peers can.
Caramba keeps trying, though. One day, after yet another attempt to fly, he falls out of the air. He lands in the water below with a splash, and is surprised to discover he can swim.
“Cats can’t swim!” he’s told.
“Well, I can," replies Caramba. We love that this kind, gentle, brave soul never gives up and eventually discovers his own special talent.
This is a lovely, inspiring story to read with your little ones.
A special shout-out to the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, which is how my daughter received a copy of Caramba in 2010. Each year, first-graders in schools across Canada receive a free copy of a selected children's book to take home. More than half a million books are given away annually. What a great way to encourage reading and introduce families to Canadian authors!
Books in series: 2
Caramba and Henry
For more about Marie-Louise Gay, check out our post about her chapter book Travels with My Family, which we wrote about here.
Two kids, two cats, and a house full of books. We share our favourite picks for young readers.