I am Doodle Cat got the thumbs up in my house, appealing to both of my little people (aged 3 and 6).
The illustrations steal the show, with just simple repeated phrases throughout the book – each page recounts what Doodle Cat ‘loves’. There’s a clever mix of detailed drawings and simpler, almost half-finished pictures. Most pages are in bold primary colours on a white background. This works well, particularly when the odd page has much more to pick through. The contrast is engaging; it kept my older child interested.
The best sketches express movement (Doodle Cat’s arms whirl brilliantly as he pounds the drums on the ‘I love noise’ page and the cat becomes a painted blur when he says ‘I love going fast’) or humour (the ‘I love baths’ show Doodle in a typically cat-like pose, leg cocked in the air while his hidden face cleans his private parts; the ‘I love farts’ page is guaranteed to raise a giggle, complete with an autograph-signing gassy product).
Maths is not often seen in picture books, and it’s nice to see the author and illustrator have dripped in reference to maths language and symbols, with Doodle Cat adding and dividing the things he loves. But this does lead to one of few sticky points in the book; one page says that Doodle Cat loves fractals, quite a tricky concept to explain to a three year old. It would have been better, given the target age group, if Doodle Cat had loved counting or chopping things in half.
Those are only minor grumbles though; I am Doodle Cat is a delightful book. A simple story, superbly illustrated – it will get you and your little ones talking and giggling. And, any book which finishes with the question ‘What do you love?’ gets my vote – particularly when the answer was ‘I love hugs with you Daddy.’
This is what my little people thought:
Grace (aged 6) said: ‘I love it, it’s very funny.’
Jack (aged 3) said: ‘The farts are the best bit.’
A copy of I am Doodle Cat was sent by the publishers.