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Paris Cat

Book Synopsis

A sassy cat from the back alleys of Paris believes she is quite different to the rest of the rabble. She can do anything she sets her mind to – even if others don’t think so. Leaving her cat family behind, she sets off to explore Paris. Cat meets legendary singer Edith Piaf, creates her own stunning designs at a high-fashion atelier and dances with the infamous dancer Josephine Baker and her cheetah. But is this the life she really wants? What about her friends and family?

Our Review Panel says...

Paris Cat is a fun and exuberant picture book that provides a glimpse of the arts and music scene in Paris in the 1930s. Cat doesn’t want to spend all of her life fighting over fish heads from the local poissonnerie with the rest of her large extended family. She wants to get out and see more of the world, so she leaves the narrow, smelly alleyway in which she’s been living and goes to explore the rest of Paris. On her journey, she meets the legendary figures of Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker and discovers a world of glitz, glamour and music and dance. But will her new found fame bring happiness or is there another option for Cat? This is a warm, delightful story about seeking out new experiences and following your interests and passions. Dianne Hofmeyr’s writing features a sense of musicality and rhythm- ‘the scrimp scrimp of scissors and the whirr whirr of sewing machines’- that suits the theme of music and performance in the storyline. Similarly, Piet Grobler’s lively illustrations brilliantly evoke the movement and energy of this historical period. The endpapers feature a map of Cat’s journey around Paris, pointing out the important settings in the story plus major landmarks in the city (and the many poissonneries). This means that it’s a great text for teachers focusing on general map reading skills or a more focused unit on Paris or France. The map is written in French which also allows teachers to link to language work in MFL – perhaps designing maps for their own fictional city and labelling in French. During Cat’s journey she visits Madame Delphine’s atelier where a range of glamorous outfits are being made. This would be a wonderful opportunity to explore fashion design and manufacture during this period and potentially to produce some simple sewing projects. Paris Cat is a warm, enjoyable story with plenty of exuberance to enjoy and lots of possibility for cross-curricular links in the classroom. Reviewer: Jenny Holder

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