by Chris Raschka
Picture Books

There are many ways to say “hello,” and “meow” is one of them. But then, “meow” has many meanings. Marigold is an irresistible ginger cat with a spotted belly, green eyes, and downy cream paws. She has a special bond with a little girl with brown skin and black hair. When Marigold jumps up on the writing table with a “meow,” the girl promptly places Marigold back on the ground. Walking around the corner, Marigold pounces on a ray of sunshine and finds it is a great place for sunbathing. Soon her cat nap is disturbed—”m-eee-eee-ow!”—when the little girl accidentally steps on her tail. Like a cat on hot bricks, Marigold runs off and hides under a bed. The little girl sweetly says she is sorry and earns Marigold’s forgiveness.

Raschka, the author of A Ball for Daisy, arranges the action in graphic novel sequences with moment-to-moment panels. His spreads create smooth transitions between the poignant scenes. The loose watercolor illustrations provide visual cues to the meaning of the floating text that depicts meow sounds. These meows vary in length, and signify friendship, hurt, forgiveness, and love.

VERDICT: expressive and engaging, this picture book is the cat’s meow. A warm portrayal of kids and furry friends that introduces young children to phonics, emotions, and active listening.

Review by Rita, Children’s Librarian