About the Holiday
If you share a home with a cat, then you know how these furry friends can change your life. Whether you love them for their playful antics, for their companionship, or for their independent spirit, your life just wouldn’t be the same without them. Cat Lovers Month is the perfect time to lavish your cat. or kitten with some extra love and attention. If you’re considering adopting a cat, now may be the time to contact your local animal shelter or rescue group to see if you can give a cat a forever home.
Thanks go to Atheneum Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Max… Attacks for review consideration. All opinions about the book are my own.
Written by Kathi Appelt | Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan
See Max crouching under the chair? He’s getting ready to do what he does best: attack! On the table sits a bowl of fish. “Max’s paws are made for pounces. / Max’s legs are built for trounces.” He springs…he leaps… “but hold on….” On the screen door crawls a lizard watched with curiosity by the dog. In a moment Max is there: “Max one. Dog none.”
Back to the fishbowl Max creeps. He gets up close and licks his lips, but then he smells “his favorite catnip bird.” He takes time out to play, but the paw-flung toy gets lost. Perhaps it’s in “the basket filled with dirty socks?” Yes! “Oh happy day, this basket rocks.” With the socks all snagged and bitten through, Max dreams again of “fishy stew.”
But, wait! What’s that swaying underneath the table? It’s none other than a shoelace begging to be attacked. A few swats and swings later, “our sneaky boy is on the creep. / He peers into the ocean deep. / Back and forth those fishes go… / swishy swashy, to and fro.” Max climbs up on the table and “perches on that bowl of water. / Lower… lower… teeter-…totter.”
Splash! The fish don’t mind the waves he makes, and Max? He needed a bath anyway. Besides, he sees his dinner bowl he can attack. Satisfied and tired Max curls up on his rug. “He’s done, kaput, stopped in his tracks. / A mighty nap attacks our Max.” And those fishies are so proud to show: “Max none. Fish, six plus one.”
Kathi Appelt’s infectious rhythm is as bouncy and jaunty as a fun-loving, curious cat and perfectly captures the mercurial nature of felines. Appelt’s verses are rich in sprightly vocabulary that moves the story along at the pace of a playful kitten while introducing charming, unexpected rhymes. Cat lovers will appreciate the humorous nod toward some of a cat’s favorite things, including shoe laces, any creepy-crawly, smelly socks, and a catnip toy. Lots of action, onomatopoeia, and internal thoughts put kids in Max’s point of view: a most wonderful place to be.
Penelope Dullaghan’s mixed media illustrations snap with personality and motion as Max leaps from one fascination to another. Her fresh, vivid images are set on plenty of white space, giving Max full range for his playful antics, and her dynamic and colorful typography contribute to the frolicking fun. With the dog shrouded in curtains and the potted plant tipped on its side, Dulligan’s Max hightails it off the page and away from his mess with a sly backward glance and just the hint of a smile. A laundry basket full of socks is no match for Max’s gamboling and sharp teeth and claws, and that dangling shoelace (shown from Max’s eye view) is just too tempting to resist. Kids will revel in the suspense when Max teeters on the fishbowl, and thrill to his ninja-style attack on his food bowl. Max’s innocent nap time face will elicit lots of “awwws,” and that one eye open on the last page is sure to entice a repeat reading.
A joy to read aloud and sure to be a much-asked-for favorite, Max… Attacks is a book you’ll want to pick up for yourself and as a gift. The book would be a purr-fect addition to home, classroom, and public library collections.
Ages 4 – 8
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2019 | ISBN 978-1481451468
Discover more about Kathi Appelt and her books on her website.
To learn more about Penelope Dullaghan, her books, and her art, visit her website.
Cat World Domination Day Activity
A Little Ball of Kitten
This sweet little kitten is easy to make and can keep you company on your desk or shelf! Since every kitten is different, you can make yours to look just the way you want. Here’s how I made mine:
- Wooden ball with a flat bottom, available in craft stores and in different sizes
- Craft paint in any color kitten you’d like (I used red and yellow and mixed it to make a mottled orange)
- Craft paint in pink or white for the inner ear
- Scrap of fleece for the ears. Fleece is easily shaped to the rounded ball and when painted is stiff enough to stand up on its own.
- Thin, colored wire in several colors for the tail (string or twine, wrapped wire, fleece, stiff paper, and other materials could also be used)
- Paint brush
- Permanent marker for making the face
- Hot glue gun or strong glue
- Paint the wooden ball and let dry
- Paint the scrap of fleece to match the wooden ball, let dry
- Cut out small triangular shapes for the ears. Round the bottom of the ears slightly so they fit the shape of the ball
- If making a tail from several colors of thin wire, twist them together, leaving one end untwisted
- With the glue gun or strong glue attach the ears to the top of the head
- With the glue gun attach the tail to the back of the wooden ball in the center near the base
- With the marker, draw eyes, nose, and mouth for the face and semicircles near the bottom for the paws
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Picture Book Review