Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith

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Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A colourful picture book which contains four short stories, ideal for sharing with tots and also with those who are starting to show interest in reading for themselves.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: April 2011
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192789815

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The first story in this book of four, Cat on the Mat, is a very simple tale in which each sentence is the (animal's name) sat on the mat, the first animal being the cat, with accompanying pictures showing the mat getting more and more crowded. Finally the cat hisses and spits and so we return to just the cat sitting alone on the mat!

All of the stories carry this simplicity. The second story deals with animal noises, each one adding an extra animal to make the noise until something says Toot, toot! and we find that it's a train, carrying the animals away. All Fall Down builds on the simple sentence I see a bee, with additional creatures being added on each page, so next it is I see a bee and a butterfly. We find, at the end, that all the creatures are balanced precariously on a ball, hence the story's title! The final story sees a leopard, goat and monkey on a raft (at which point I found myself thinking of that old maths problem where you have to transport a lion and two other animals that lions like to eat across a river without anyone getting eaten...) Here the animals spot an island en route and they jump off, but the island starts to sink down, and down, before suddenly rising back up and showing us that it isn't an island, but actually a hippo!

I really enjoyed reading this book with my daughter. Because of its simplicity it's very easy for children to pick up on the structure of the stories and join in with the words. The first story allows practise of that initial stage of recognition for early readers as they figure out the animals who are coming to sit on the mat using the words and the pictures. So it works with children just taking those first steps in recognising familiar words, but also works for little ones who will just enjoy the stories as they are, the surprise of the hissing cat and the recognition of the cat not wanting to share his mat!

The other stories work in a similar way, with lots of noise-making opportunities and funny endings each time. My favourite is the cat story (I like doing the hissing cat noise!) but they are all fun to read. The pictures are good. Although they initially look old fashioned somehow, and perhaps a little dark in the cat story, the animals have lovely knowing looks about them, and they compliment the text perfectly.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

This book is definitely worth a read, and is fun to return to again and again. Further reading suggestion: Another lovely book from Brian Wildsmith

Buy Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith at

Buy Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith at


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