February 2, 2023


At the Drop of a Cat by Élise Fontenaille and Violeta Lópiz, and translated by Karin Snelson and Emilie Robert Wong is the loving story of a child getting to know their grandfather.

Our six-year-old narrator is learning to read and write, and they practice their lessons when they're at their grandfather Luis's house every Wednesday and Sunday. Luis is a particularly good gardener (and cook!), so they both spend the majority of their time together in Luis's garden, where Luis talks to the birds and teaches the narrator various trades. Peppered with facts the grandchild has learned from their own father, the grandchild narrates their grandfather's life story noting their differences and similarities.

Lópiz's mixed media illustrations are layered collages of differing hues and textures. The visual moments spent focused on Luis are represented with lush, jungle-like greenery. In fact, readers find themselves having to "wade" through a series of spreads full of forestry to get a glimpse of Luis's face, and when we finally do see him, his entire being consists of trees and nature. It's not until the end of the book that this colorful greenery transfers to a mostly colorless, line-drawn grandchild. Every scene, be it a page or a full spread, is set against a backdrop that's designed to look like cream colored acrylic paint on top of a blue canvas. And while the greenery is, well, green, Lópiz places a heavy emphasis on the primary colors for the bulk of the imagery.

At the Drop of a Cat published last month from Enchanted Lion!

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