Review of Kitty & Cat: Bent Out of Shape, by Mirka Hokkanen

Kitty & Cat

Bent Out of Shape

by Mirka Hokkanen

Candlewick Press, 2023. 36 pages.
Review written December 6, 2023, from a library book.
Starred Review

Okay, there’s a place for simple books about shapes. They teach little ones something they need to know. Good.

And then we have books about shapes on an entirely different level — books that parent and child will thoroughly enjoy and laugh over — while learning about shapes at the same time.

This book would become a go-to pick for me for Toddler Storytime if I still worked in a library branch. The idea is simple: A cat hiding because he doesn’t want to take a bath.

On the first page we see Cat curled up in a Circle-shaped basket with a speech bubble coming from off the page: “Cat! Time for a bath!”

The next page shows the basket empty, and a small child’s feet nearby, with the speech bubble, “Cat?”

From there on out, we’ve got a repeating pattern: A spread in some room of the house with Kitty and Puppy cavorting about, along with the speech bubble pointing off-page: “Where’s Cat?”

The next spread says “There’s Cat!”

The “There’s Cat!” reveal is where the hilarity comes in. On the frontpapers at the start of the book, we’d seen nine simple shapes named. It turns out, Cat is very good at putting his whole body into these shapes. On each reveal spread, we see that Kitty or Puppy has knocked down an object with a simple shape — and now we see Cat, who’d been hiding behind it, exactly matching the shape.

First, he hides behind a rectangular cereal box in the kitchen, and then my favorite (because it’s just silly) — a triangular vase in the dining room.

And so it goes. The words are as simple as “Where’s Cat? There’s Cat!” but the pictures show Cat frantically trying to stay concealed while Kitty and Puppy romp about the whole house, making mayhem.

Cat’s expression after his bath is priceles, too. And the final shape is a heart with all three animals — but a new threat for Kitty and Puppy.

There’s another page of those same nine shapes at the back of the book — but this time all of the shapes have a picture of Cat inside of them.

Just absolutely silly fun — and Shapes!

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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