I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein
I am always on the lookout for excellent new books for infants and toddlers, books that are enticing to young ears and eyes, and also clever and meaningful. That’s why I am so pleased to recommend new children’s author Galia Bernstein’s debut offering. And while it is a wonderful lap book read for little ones, it is also a hit with first-graders, who appreciate the theme of similarities and differences, compare and contrast–and can even take it to a higher level to think about in- and out-groups and the important message of inclusion. The illustrations are gorgeous; colorful cats pop out from the background and invite lingering looks. On the surface, the premise is simple: Simon the housecat wants to convince “the big cats” (Lion, Panther, Puma, Tiger, and others) that he is like them. They beg to disagree and cite “facts” to support their catness, and his lack of it. The book is filled with examples of how each cat does have traits special for his or her species–and yet they are alike. It’s a lovely way to celebrate the diversity of each of the larger cats, yet still recognize that they are all part of the feline family, including Simon. I especially love how the eyes and expressions of the cats help tell the story. This one is a winner both as a read-aloud and read-to-myself book.