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Spot, the Cat

Henry Cole

Simple and stunning images tell the story of a cat named Spot as he weaves his way in and out of a city in this wordless picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Henry Cole. Through this gorgeous visual narrative, Henry Cole shows us a day in the life of a cat named Spot. Spot sneaks away from home by way of an open window to go on a wordless journey through the city. Follow Spot as he weaves through busy city streets, visits a farmers market, wanders into a park full of kite-flyers, and beyond. But while Spot is out on his adventure, his beloved boy owner is looking for him—seeming to just miss him every time. When all seems almost lost, Spot’s story reminds us that there’s always a way back home. With stunningly detailed black-and-white illustrations, readers will love following Spot on his adventure—along the way finding characters and objects that appear, disappear, and reappear—and cheering for the sweet reunion at the end.

Reviews

"While a young boy is reading a book, his small black-and-white cat, appropriately named Spot, jumps through the window after a bird and sets off on an urban adventure. Each spread of this wordless seek and find–style tale shows the fearless feline wandering further away from its home, venturing down the street to a river embankment, through a park, into an outdoor market, and past a museum, all while its despondent owner looks for it. Finally, as the boy gives up and returns home, the cat comes back as well and the two are happily reunited. Cole’s black-and-white illustrations, laid out in mostly spreads and vignettes, overflow with delightful details (such as numerous other cats and dogs), which enrich the story but make finding the tiny spotted protagonist incredibly challenging. VERDICT Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy looking for the little cat and undoubtedly root for its safe return home." —school library journal -- –Yelena Alekseyeva-Popov

"Spot, the cat, slinks out an open window and pads through a bustling village, with its concerned owner, a white-skinned child with tousled black hair, trailing behind. Readers, like the child, scan teeming city scenes with furrowed brows, searching for Spot (homing in on the distinctive "beauty mark" on its flank) amid lively quotidian action. Exhaustively detailed black-and-white ink illustrations make investigating the wordless spreads both a challenge and a joy. Fur, fabric, brickwork, rooftops, blades of grass, kite tassels, hubcaps, and street signs all receive such granular treatment they cohere into richly wrought panoramas. They echo with car horns, bursts of laughter, bird calls, dog barks, fountain burbles, and the reassuring murmur of myriad conversations, quibbles, and songs. Spot streams through the lower latitudes of all this activity, as does the child, who misses spotting the cat time and time again. Hearts drop. Finding the feline is tricky for readers too, as the artist inserts many red herrings. Other cats, dogs, and furry creatures and other spots surface here and there, sending alternating rushes of excitement and urgency. When child and cat finally reunite, the sweet relief feels immediate and intimate—and all that looking so very much worth it. (Picture book. 3-8)" —kirkus

"Spot the cat? If you can! Frankly, Spot is not that easy to find in this wordless picture book by veteran Cole. And that’s what makes this so frustratingly fun. The book begins with a one-spotted cat looking at a bird outside the living room window while his young owner reads. Turn the page and the spread shows an incredibly detailed street of brownstones and shops, with people, plants, and pets peeking out of windows as dog owners and bikers bustle by. The rest of the story is simple: Spot gets caught up in city life, moving from park to museum to train station. When the boy realizes Spot is missing, he prints out flyers and heads out to find him, but usually a step or two behind. Cole’s pencil-and-ink crosshatch artwork is an intricate marvel, and even after readers have found Spot, here are plenty of other stories to see in these pages, or kids can use the goings-on as a jumping off place for stories of their own. One caveat: the flap copy says that Spot can be found on each page, but this isn’t true on pages featuring the boy, unless you count the cat’s face on the flyers. As for that detailed first spread? Well, we're still looking. Darn cat." —booklist

"Henry Cole, too, dispenses with color for his wordless picture book, “Spot, the Cat” (Little Simon, 32 pages, $17.99), but here the black-and-white drawings are busy and intricate rather than atmospheric, intensifying the challenge of finding a boy’s missing pet in each brimming tableau. The opening image is a cozy one: We see a boy reading on a sofa while his cat watches a bird outside. A moment later, out the cat goes through the open window, past the flowerpots and toward the bird. Turning the page, we realize that the boy’s window is only one of scores on a street of densely packed townhouses. The cat seems to have disappeared. Where can she be? Only careful study reveals her tiny white-with-a-spot shape, as she ventures off to explore the city. Soon the boy is in pursuit, posting “lost cat” signs but somehow always a step behind her. He can’t find her in the big world, but we can—if we look very, very closely. So readers ages 4-8 won’t be worried when the boy gives up his search and sadly walks home alone: We know that all will be well, and it is." —new york times