See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog

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Annotation: See Max. Max is not a cat--Max is a dog. But much to Max's dismay, the book keeps instructing readers to"see the cat. How can Max get through to the book that he is a DOG?
Catalog Number: #293886
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Wohnoutka, Mike,
Pages: 64
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-536-20427-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9872-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-536-20427-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9872-3
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
In three brief stories, this beginning reader inventively supports both traditional and visual literacies. The first chapter, "The Cat," opens with the sentence "See the cat" on an otherwise blank left-hand page. On the right-hand page, a dog responds, declaring, "I am not a cat. I am a dog." The text on the left pages continues to expand and embellish the description, and the dog reacts with increased frustration ("I am NOT blue and I am NOT a cat"). There is more to the tale, however, and humor ramps up as surprises occur. The gutter effectively separates the dog's words (shown in speech balloons) from the words of the narrator (always set on blank pages). In one scene in the second story, "The Snake," the dog reaches back over to the previous page, pencil in hand, to modify the sentence "The mad snake is going to bite the dog." None of the secondary characters speaks (including a large, purple, buck-toothed hippo whose not-funny role is as a threat to "sit on the dog"). Short sentences carry a steady rhythm, with word repetition scaffolding language acquisition and offering clever callbacks. Gouache illustrations in subdued hues enliven and support the narrative. This entertaining exploration of words, images, and how they function together to tell a story will be popular with fans of Mo Willems.
Kirkus Reviews
A dog insists he is the protagonist of three silly stories.In a running argument with the author, Max the dog feels he must rectify each narrative statement as he perceives it applies to him. Story No. 1 begins, “See the cat.” There is no cat in the illustration, only the dog, who states with certitude, “I am not a cat. I am a dog.” The author continues, “See the blue cat.” The dog retorts, “I am NOT blue and I am NOT a cat.” This continues with additional descriptions of the cat that isn’t there—until the conclusion trots in a blue cat riding a unicorn. “See the red dog.” Max admits, “I am so embarrassed.” Story No. 2 has a similar beginning: “See the snake.” “Here we go again,” sighs Max. The narrator blandly records the snake’s increasing anger, informing readers: “The mad snake is going to bite the dog.” Thinking quickly, Max grabs a pencil and smartly makes an edit, inserting “not” between “is” and “going.” Whew. In Story No. 3, Max takes control when confronted with an impossible choice: fly or be squashed by a large hippo. Sardonic cartoon drawings and the play on words cleverly elevate the repetitive, Dick-and-Jane pattern to include humor and suspense. Children, who are frequently subject to the control of others, will delight in seeing Max mirror their emotions and turn the tables.Kids will cheer for the affronted Max in this well-crafted early reader with surprising outcomes. (Early reader. 4-8)
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2 Who is running the show in this delightfully humorous easy reader? The first line of text, large black font on a white verso page, is "See the cat." On the recto page, a yellow dog proudly declares in speech bubble text, "I am not a cat. I am a dog." As descriptors of the cat accumulate, dog Max grows more and more indignant until indeed a cat does appear and the text "See the red dog" is paired with red-cheeked Max admitting, "I am so embarrassed." In the second story, the omniscient narrator begins, "See the snake" as Max resignedly responds, "Here we go again." The jig is up, however, as Max cleverly averts the dangerous snake by using a pencil to write in a different ending. In the third story, Max takes control by threatening to leave the book when the narrator again tries to manipulate him. Cartoon-style illustrations expertly support a text with repetition and simple sentences. As Max progresses from confused to canny to competent, children will find a reflection of their own reading journey as well as amusement at the metafictive aspect of a dog wrestling with a book. VERDICT This humorous, self-referential, fourth walldemolishing easy reader features a dog who seems to be at the mercy of the storytelleror is he? Ramarie Beaver, formerly at Plano P.L., TX
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A dog insists he is the protagonist of three silly stories.In a running argument with the author, Max the dog feels he must rectify each narrative statement as he perceives it applies to him. Story No. 1 begins, “See the cat.” There is no cat in the illustration, only the dog, who states with certitude, “I am not a cat. I am a dog.” The author continues, “See the blue cat.” The dog retorts, “I am NOT blue and I am NOT a cat.” This continues with additional descriptions of the cat that isn’t there—until the conclusion trots in a blue cat riding a unicorn. “See the red dog.” Max admits, “I am so embarrassed.” Story No. 2 has a similar beginning: “See the snake.” “Here we go again,” sighs Max. The narrator blandly records the snake’s increasing anger, informing readers: “The mad snake is going to bite the dog.” Thinking quickly, Max grabs a pencil and smartly makes an edit, inserting “not” between “is” and “going.” Whew. In Story No. 3, Max takes control when confronted with an impossible choice: fly or be squashed by a large hippo. Sardonic cartoon drawings and the play on words cleverly elevate the repetitive, Dick-and-Jane pattern to include humor and suspense. Children, who are frequently subject to the control of others, will delight in seeing Max mirror their emotions and turn the tables.Kids will cheer for the affronted Max in this well-crafted early reader with surprising outcomes. (Early reader. 4-8)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This beginning-reader book starts out innocently enough with "See the Cat." A dog named Max, the only character in sight, politely points out in his speech balloon, "I am not a cat. I am a dog." As the text elaborates on the cat's appearance and actions, the conflict between words and images quickly escalates. Meanwhile, Max's demeanor shifts from dignified to annoyed to infuriated to apoplectic, until a green cat rides past him on a blue unicorn, leaving him sheepish and embarrassed. In chapter 2, the text startles Max with "The mad snake is going to bite the dog," but Max defends himself by penciling in one word that changes everything. And in the final chapter, after clever negotiation with the text, Max takes a well-deserved nap. With short, simple words and a keen sense of comedic timing, LaRochelle sets up this battle of wits but leaves space for Wohnoutka to work his magic. The expressive gouache illustrations bring the characters to life, deliver much of the book's humor, and create a blissfully happy ending for Max. Using the predictability of traditional "easy reader" books as a springboard to laugh-out-loud moments, this book is a rewarding choice for kids tackling the not-so-easy task of learning to read.
Word Count: 291
Reading Level: 1.2
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 1.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 508532 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD260L
Guided Reading Level: M
Fountas & Pinnell: M

Winner of the 2021 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Move over, Spot. . . . Spoofing classic primers, Max the Dog talks back to the book in a twist that will have fans of funny early readers howling.


See Max. Max is not a cat—Max is a dog. But much to Max’s dismay, the book keeps instructing readers to “see the cat.” How can Max get through to the book that he is a DOG? In a trio of stories for beginning readers, author David LaRochelle introduces the excitable Max, who lets the book know in irresistibly emphatic dialogue that the text is not to his liking. Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka hilariously depicts the pup’s reactions to the narrator and to the wacky cast of characters who upend Max’s—and readers’—expectations as the three stories build to an immensely satisfying conclusion. Hooray, Max, hooray!

See the cat
See the snake
See the dog.

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