Two-time Caldecott winner Sophie Blackall spins a winning tale about Max, a feline whose behavior doesn't win any raves, except from the boy who believes in him and finds a way to turn a negative into a positive.
When a boy is FINALLY allowed to get a cat, he has no doubts about which one to bring home from the shelter. But Max the cat isn’t quite what the family expected. He shuns the toy mouse, couldn’t care less about the hand-knitted sweater, and spends most of his time facing the wall. One by one, the family gives up on Max, but the boy loves his negative cat so much, he’ll do anything to keep him. Even the thing he dreads most: practicing his reading. Which, as it turns out, makes everything positive!
About the Author
Sophie Blackall has illustrated more than thirty books, including the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books Big Red Lollipop and The Baby Tree, which she also wrote. Born in Australia, Sophie lives in Brooklyn with her children, Olive and Edward.Sophie Blackall has illustrated more than thirty books, including Finding Winnie, for which she won the Caldecott medal, and the New York Times Best Illustrated books Big Red Lollipop and The Baby Tree, which she also wrote. Born in Australia, Sophie lives in Brooklyn with her children Olive and Edward.
“Humorous, heartwarming.” —People Magazine
“A must-read for anyone that loves cats, books, and reading.” —Brightly
“[An] adorable and sweet picture book.” —Book Riot
“Sometimes things aren’t what they seem at first. . . . Understated text brings a dry sense of humor to the child’s plight. . . . An author’s note describes the true event on which this story is based and offers readers ideas on how they can go read to animals. A humorous tale in which everyone gets what they want—even a negative cat!” —Kirkus Reviews
“Max is, of course, adorable, and the discovery that reading to animals can benefit both the children who read and the animals who listen is the story’s hidden treasure.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Blackall’s] illustrations, ‘created digitally and superimposed on the reverse side of vintage wallpaper salvaged from a falling-down house,’ have a charmingly old-school feel, deepened by the dull-toned color palette and design choices. A touching story that adds depth to the usual sweet humor of cat books.” —Booklist
"A boy's new pet starts out as a problem and becomes the solution to another problem in Sophie Blackall's droll and commiserative picture book." —Shelf Awareness
"This entertaining tale is a tribute to animal rescue shelters—and to literacy. . . . The many eye-catching details in Blackall’s fine-lined illustrations invite close inspection. . . . Blackall expertly captures body language and extracts a lot of humor from the surly cat, especially when comparing him to the animated pet-owner: we see the child attempt to connect (“I tell him all my best jokes. He doesn’t even smile”); the cat is shown with his back to readers, staring at the wall or rudely putting his tail in a stick of butter. As a result, it’s immensely rewarding to see the connection that occurs when the boy starts to read (and to enjoy it!) and Max crawls closer to cuddle. A positive and satisfying tale." —Horn Book
"This readaloud is an excellent depiction of the drawbacks of cat ownership, from cleaning up unwanted messes to only receiving affection when it’s desired by the feline party, but its message that cats are still worth keeping around (and make particularly good reading buddies) is both sweet and helpful to would-be cat owners with certain expectations. The digital art has a vintage look." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books