#948 – They All Saw a Cat by (Rising Star) Brendan Wenzel


cover-a They All Saw a Cat
Written and Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Chronicle Books  8/30/2016
44 pages   Ages 4—8

Junior Library Guild Selection

“The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . .

“When you see a cat, what do you see? In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see.” [inside jacket]

A calico cat, with a red collar and a gold bell announcing its presence, walks through its world, passing by various other creatures. These creatures see the cat from their own personal perspective. Some view the cat as a harmless kitten, while others might view the cat as a curiosity or even a horrendous predator ready to pounce.

Wenzel illustrates each animal’s perspective of the cat, and then creates that animal’s image from the cat’s viewpoint. Painting these images was probably the easy part. Understanding each animal’s viewpoint, and then visually interpreting this for young children, required getting inside each animal’s head. Wenzel then translates each vision into beautiful images children can understand (maybe with adult help, but most likely not). Wenzel then reverses the process to determine how the cat sees each animal, though to a lesser degree.

the fish-a

For example, the mouse sees the cat as a terrifying proposition. From the mouse’s perspective, Wenzel gives readers a large black cat with yellow crazed eyes, large pointed teeth, and long sharp claws ready to trap the mouse. The background, painted red—a warning punctuating the mouse’s fear—screams out, “Run mouse, run!” In the cat’s eyes, the mouse has huge white eyes and—so I imagine—twitchy whiskers, possibly calling to the cat, “Dinner!”


Wenzel has created a brilliant picture book about perspective, a difficult subject to teach a young child. He clearly understands the animal world—and children. Wenzel does an amazing job of seeing each of the twelve animal’s perspective and translating them into images children will understand.

The illustrations, rendered in—are you ready?—(quote) “almost everything imaginable, including colored pencil, oil pastels, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, Magic Marker, good old number 2 pencils, and even an iBook,” are keen, colorful, and captivating. Young children will love these images of the animal kingdom, possibly right from their own backyards.

the bird

They All Saw a Cat was quite the undertaking on Wenzel’s part. He put everything he had into his debut solo picture book. It’s no wonder publishers got into a bidding war to acquire Wenzel’s first two books. He got an amazing advance and young children got an amazing storyteller and artist.

THEY ALL SAW A CAT Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Brendan Wenzel. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Find They All Saw a Cat on Goodreads HERE.

Brendan Wenzel:  http://brendanwenzel.info/
Follow on Twitter          @BRENDAN_WENZEL

Chronicle Books:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/
Follow on Twitter          @ChronicleKids  AND    @ChronicleBooks

Reprinted with permission from THEY ALL SAW A CAT © 2016 by Brendan Wenzel, Chronicle Books, Illustrations © 2016 by Brendan Wenzel.



(picture books)


Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

They All Saw a Cat
Written and Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Chronicle Books 8/30/2016


7 thoughts on “#948 – They All Saw a Cat by (Rising Star) Brendan Wenzel

  1. This book is gaining a “Caldecott” buzz and it’s easy to see why! The illustrating of these many perspectives is not an easy thing to pull off and the whole concept is just very cool. I love how it enforces the differences in point of view. And lucky me, I got to meet Brendan in NYC last week. Such a nice guy! Love the review, Sue 🙂

    P.S. I’ll be blogging about that event soon 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!


  2. What a wonderful concept! Thanks for another detailed and helpful review. We may need to check this one out even though we are allergic to cats!


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