Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Old Robert and His Darling Cats

I have a new favorite picture book, which I've been reading to the kids this week.  It's called Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats, by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Jan Jutte.  It's a sweet, quiet book and the more I read it out loud, the more I love it.

Old Robert is "a shipshape man who had everything he needed - nothing more, nothing less," the story begins, before the title page.  He is a sailor who lives on his boat and lives a simple routine life, counting all the 'regular things in their regular place' each night before he goes to sleep, never sailing at night.  Then some silly cats come by and change his life.

What I really love about this book is how the author uses words to paint a picture.  For instance, she describes the first cat as 'light as a whisper, soft as a secret.' Each night a cat comes by and the moon becomes a little fuller and golden until, finally, the night is right for sailing.  The author's lyrical writing style pairs beautifully with the whimsical pen and water color illustrations to create something magical.  Do yourself a favor and read this book out loud to someone special.

Barbara Joosse writes songs as well.  Go here to hear Old Robert's Jig.

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