I preordered this book back in March, so it was very exciting when the Amazon delivery van pulled up in front of my house. My three girls wanted to read this book immediately, and I was happy to oblige.
Here Comes Teacher Cat is the fifth picture book in the Cat series. These delightful books were written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda. If you aren’t familiar with Cat, you should know that the books follow a similar format. The narrator addresses Cat directly, and Cat responds by holding up signs that express his feelings. Cat is a bit of a curmudgeon and he can be selfish at times, but he has a good heart.
As the title suggests, Cat spends this book working as a substitute teacher for a class of little kittens. At first, he seems intimidated by the job, but he quickly realizes how much fun he can have and the students seem to appreciate his “improvements” to music, building blocks, and art. But can they clean up their mess before Ms. Melba returns?
The illustrations are an integral part of the story because Cat communicates through signs. The characters appear against a white background, and there is very little clutter. This allows the reader to focus on Cat and the signs. Every page has an illustration on the one side and a line or two of text on the other side. The nice thing about this format is that a younger child can enjoy this book and get the gist of the story without being able to read.
My girls absolutely loved this book. At 10,8, and 8, they are moving beyond picture books, but they can still appreciate a new version of a favorite character. As I mentioned, they wanted to read the book as soon as I opened the package, and they laughed heartily at the antics. They especially loved the throwback to the other books in the series when Cat suggests that perhaps Santa or the Easter Bunny can serve as substitute teacher.
I would absolutely recommend Here Comes Teacher Cat. I don’t think you necessarily have to read any of the other books in the series first; it’s pretty easy to pick up on Cat’s mannerisms. This book will appeal to a wide range of children from preschoolers through children in the early years of elementary school. Cat has a good heart, and although he protests, he always follows through. We are very happy with this latest installment in the series.