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Cat's Night Out by Caroline Stutson
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Cat's Night Out (2010)

by Caroline Stutson, Caroline Stutson

Other authors: Jon Klassen (Illustrator)

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As music drifts from a shadowy alleyway one Saturday night, Easy Street's cats come out to dance, tangoing, line-dancing, twisting, fox-trotting, rumbaing, polkaing, and congaing to their hearts' content. Dressed to the nines, these felines have a grand time, until irate neighbors can take no more...

An entertaining and somewhat unconventional counting book, one which counts by twos rather than by ones, Cats' Night Out was acclaimed illustrator Jon Klassen's first children's book, and it is for this reason that I sought it out. The artwork is appealing - I love the cats in all of their diverse finery! - and exhibits some of that humor for which Klassen would become known in later books. As a cat-lover, I enjoyed the many scenes of cavorting cats here, and found the rhyming text read very well. Recommended to anyone looking for counting books that are just a little different, as well as to fans of Jon Klassen's work. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Nov 12, 2016 |
I stumbled upon this book after becoming a huge fan of Jon Klassen. At the time, he only had authored two books so I took what I could get with this one having just been illustrated by him. I am very, very happy I did.

First off, I see many people complaining that the book was "dull." From a story arc standpoint, I can sympathize because there is not really an established setting/problem/character development/conclusion. But otherwise... I would really love to live in a world where cats dressed to thematically match their chosen style of dance is "dull." The book is a lyrical exercise in counting by 2s all the way to 20, during which time cats are dressed in Old West style clothing, evening gowns, etc., respectively.

Age-wise, I'd say 4-8 years old is a bit off in terms of target audiences. My eldest kiddo is 4 and enjoys the book quite a bit, but that is likely because he grew up listening to it ever since being a newborn. I would recommend Cats' Night Out for the 0-3 age range - older kids will enjoy IF they particularly love cats and/or odd, whimsical situations in stories. We primarily read it as a bedtime story because it is excellent to wind down kiddos if read slowly/softly. When he's not quite tired enough, my kiddos count the cats on each page by 1s and 2s, so it has a bit of educational utility.

On my end, I have never tired of this book. The cats, while dancing very enthusiastically, all maintain neutral, close-eyed expressions that give them a curiously methodical look. It's bizarre and amazingly enjoyable. ( )
  py34tt | Sep 1, 2016 |
Not as good as Jon Klassen's own books, but I still love his art. And these cats are pretty fabulous dancers, there's no denying that. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jan 2, 2016 |
This picture book opens upon a setting sun and the tantalizing hint of music winding through expansive urban vistas, coaxing out playful dancing pairs of cats two-by-two. The highly saturated images are created with muted earth tones and varying levels of opacity that together work to create a calming lull, even as the cats dance across the page. Through the careful use of color and space, the urban space becomes quiet, manageable, and welcoming, providing a relief from the frantic pace of life in a city. Each spread increases the dancing cats by two, keeping pace with the rhyming couplet that drives the story and providing opportunities for children to practice counting by twos. The ongoing rhythm provides an audible counterpoint to the imaginary music giving life to the cats; however, at some points, the use of rhyme impedes reading comprehension, such as when “tip bowler hats” rhymes with “canvas spats.” As the story continues, the cats demonstrate new styles of dance with matching outfits. Although imaginative, to children unfamiliar with styles of dance, this book may become tedious and inaccessible. This picture book is recommended for additional selection, unless there is a noted interest in picture books presenting urban landscapes or cats. ( )
  kornelas1 | Oct 1, 2014 |
This book is filled with cool cats. It begins, “From the alley, music drifts. Shadows sway to a trumpet riff thought…” The dark city is lit up by Jazz sign as music notes drift through the air. Shows two cats dancing on a rooftop. “Two cats somber, dressed in white, on the rooftop Saturday night.” Each page continues in this pattern. Four cats boogie, six cats tango, eight cats tap, and so on. Each pair of cats dances in a different style and wears appropriate clothing. There are poodle skirts, red capes, bowler hats, and rhinestone boots. The rhyming couplet keep the beat. Cool cats are everywhere, fire escapes, heat exhaust pipes, streetlight poles, and more. Three times, Caroline Stutson writes, “In the city, Windows light. How many cats will dance tonight?” Finally the humans protest and the cats slip away. But the next night, music drifts on Easy Street and two cats waltzing in black half masks begin the Cats Night Out.

The illustrations by J. Klassen are done in gray, black, and brown with muted touches of color. They bring to mind the smoky, dark interiors of jazz bars. Every cat is completely lost in the dance.

Although there are a couple of tiny glitches in the beat of the rhyming couplets, this is a delightful book to read aloud. Any child who loves the mischievous nature of cats or is interested in dance will enjoy this book. A fun book that will be read more than once.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Bonnie_Ferrante | Jun 27, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caroline Stutsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stutson, Carolinemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Klassen, JonIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For my book-loving friends, Beth, Carrie, Julie, Laura, Susan, and their cats -- C.S.
For Cleo -- J.K.
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Cats dance the night away out on the town, doing the tango, rumba, twist, fox trot, and more.

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