Reviews for Black Cat


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 April 1999
Gr. 3^-8. The illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Harlem (1998) contributes both words and text in this picture book that will have an exceptionally wide audience. Elementary-school children will focus on the progress of a sleek black cat as it travels along quiet city streets, over rooftops, and into the subway, seemingly intent on some destination it alone knows. Older children, even some in junior high, will focus more on the pulse of the rap in the words and be drawn to the surreal images of the city, a place many of them will recognize as home. Myers' collages, all angles and concrete, photos and paint, are a maze of intriguing perspectives. They show the drama, the danger, and the quiet of the city, softened only by the presence of the sleek black cat. A potent combination of modern art, photography, rhythm, and words. ((Reviewed April 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1999 #2
In evoking the style and spirit of a streetwise feline, Black Cat travels independent and unfettered through urban landscapes. Dynamic, haunt-ing, dramatic, the book is a multisensory experience. It immediately attracts attention through a series of striking photo-collages enhanced with gouache and ink. An authoritative typeface holds an interpretive poem whose rhythms and concepts serve as both descant from and commentary on the illustrations. The use of a simple refrain ("black cat, black cat, we want to know / where's your home, where do you go?") provides a unifying element; in the end, the cat responds that his home is "anywhere I roam," thus reaffirming the tone set by its antics-climbing fences, scaling walls, balancing on neon signs. Edgy, visceral, this dazzling book captures the rhythms of the city and the gritty beauty of the urban landscape. m.m.b. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 January #2
Myers (Walter Dean Myers's Harlem, 1997) makes use of an idea with promise following the trail of a black cat on its urban beat--but the result is less a hip city tour than a tortured grab at cool. Photographs form the backgrounds on which paint is layered, heightening some effects, flattening others. Onto these tinkered photographs are grafted cut-outs of a cat in various feline poses: licking a raised leg, strutting along a rooftop, preparing to pounce. Aspects of the cityscape are well served by the artistic approach--night scenes, building facades, sidewalks. But the text can be contradictory and obscure (``hearing the quiet language of invisible trains'') or, perhaps unintentionally, terrifying (``watching children screaming in playground cages''). (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 1999 December #1
Gr 2-5-A rhythmic ramble through an urban landscape led by a sleek and savvy feline. Striking collage paintings and hip verse pulsate with the sights and sounds of the city. (Mar.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 March #5
An unseen narrator follows a lone black cat posing the refrain, "Where is your home?" in this ingenious tour of an urban landscape. If Myers's montage illustrations for Harlem paid homage to its people and history, here the mixed media images revere the starkness and beauty of the city streets themselves. As the stealthy feline, subtly comprised of dark fabric swatches with delicate patterns, makes its way down to the subways and up to the rooftops, the creature moves gracefully and purposefully. Rarely, save for a stop at the basketball courts or the playground, does the cat encounter anyone else, yet it never seems frightened or lonely. Myers imbues even the night vistas with pulsing purples, greens and oranges that seem to insulate the cat from harm, and the design plays up Myers's exquisite color sense. In one spread, for instance, a rose-colored trio of apartment buildings enveloped by a fiery sky appears alongside an image of the cat atop a darkened brick wall next to a quartet of glass green bottles with just a hint of rosy-streaked yellow sky in the background. The text itself reads like captions to the striking images, which develop a visual rhythm of their own: the metal pillars of a subway station echo in the bars of the "playground cages" and fire escapes; the honeycomb-like quality of the chain-link fences reappears in the backboard of a basketball hoop. Myers thus creates a comforting, familiar world for the cat, which exudes confidence as it answers the text's recurring question: home is "anywere I roam." Ages 5-up. (Apr.) Copyright 1999 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 March
Gr 2-5-Dramatic, evocative perspectives capture the sense of the inner city and the enigmatic existence of a street-smart, no-nonsense cat roaming there. Rhythmic poetry poses questions about the golden-eyed animal with lines like: "black cat, black cat, we want to know/where's your home, where do you go?" As readers follow the creature across car hoods, wire fence rims, and into subway cars, the starkness and harshness of the city are provocatively drawn. The bold collage art that incorporates photographs, ink, and gouache contrasts the sinuous movements of the cat against the angular urban cityscape of roof tops, ball courts, and fire escapes. Myers's style carries a familiarity from Harlem (Scholastic, 1997) but here the illustrations are full page, with no white space, and the white-and-colored text on black backgrounds adds to the somewhat ominous tone, effectively conveying a secretive, haunting mood shaped by lingering images. This creative work pulses with city rhythms and scenarios, just waiting to be discovered and discussed.-Julie Cummins, New York Public Library Copyright 1999 School Library Journal Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 December
Gr 2-5-A rhythmic ramble through an urban landscape led by a sleek and savvy feline. Striking collage paintings and hip verse pulsate with the sights and sounds of the city. (Mar.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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