- Author/Illustrator: Adam Stower
- Publisher: Scholastic/Orchard Books
- Pub date: 2014 (in the U.S. First published in the U.K. in 2012)
- Intended for: Ages 3 to 5
- Perfect for: Anyone who loves a funny story. Anyone who loves a good cat story.
I love when a story is told in an inventive way. While having the reader know what’s going on behind the scenes in the story isn’t a new way of telling a story, it’s definitely inventive when it’s done well and Naughty Kitty! is a great example of this.
Right from the outset, on the endpapers of the book, the readers are given insider info. We see an excerpt from a newspaper that a wild animal is loose, and there’s a LOST poster of a tiger from the local zoo. Hmm. Curiosity is piqued from the get-go.
Once we get inside the story, we see that Lily, a little girl with a sweet face and only the best of intentions, is bringing home an adorable gray kitten. Lily actually wanted to adopt a dog, but her parents said they were too much trouble. In the background, readers can see the stripes of a tiger behind the hedges surrounding Lily’s yard. Trouble definitely looms.
Lily dutifully feeds the kitten and leaves the room. But while away, the kitten is shocked to see the tiger enter the house and devour a cake that was on the kitchen table. Of course by the time Lily comes back, the room is a huge mess and the kitten is blamed. He appears to be a naughty kitty.
Time and time again Lily asks the kitten to behave while she goes off, but when she returns everything is mayhem and in tatters. Each scene gets more ridiculous than the next, as at one point Lily doesn’t even realize that the tiger is eating a sausage right off of her fork as she scolds her kitten. Readers are always aware that it’s the tiger doing all of the dirty work and kids will love that they know more than Lily.
The big finale is especially funny, as Lily is in the backyard and she hears a growl. It’s something with teeth…and claws…and stripes. It turns out to be a neighbor’s little dog in a striped sweater yapping at Lily and the kitten. Kitty gives a scared little “Mmrowl” and Lily is so proud of her kitten because he saved Lily from the scary dog. Or so she thinks. Readers will see that the HUGE TIGER behind Lily is what actually scared the pup away.
The confused looks on the kitty’s face throughout the book are hilarious. And Lily is a hoot to watch as she blissfully goes through her day, completely unaware of what’s going on around her, to the reader’s benefit.
Stower varies the size and number of illustrations on the pages to good effect, with large images of the (huge) tiger taking up full spreads as he wreaks havoc, and smaller vignettes and spare art showing the diminutive kitty as he goes about his day.
There are surprises around every corner in this book and I think kids will absolutely love it! The pacing of the story is wonderful, and readers will hungrily turn page after page in an effort to find out how the story will end (Hint: with another surprise!). Highly recommended.