Nat the Cat Takes a Bath | Review
Nat the Cat Takes a Bath
By Jarrett Lerner
Simon Spotlight, May 2023
Grades P-K, Ages 3-5
If you’re wondering why I’m reviewing an early reader in a comics forum, please read my thoughts on this series in my review of the first volume of the series.
While this Nat story stands alone, early readers will be delighted that Nat, Pat the Rat, and the narrator have returned for another story.
In this episode, Nat is supposed to be taking a bath, but he’s not. The narrator (an omniscient narrator that interacts in the book), responds to Nat in each instance. No bubbles? Ping. Bubbles. No toys? Here are the toys. Until Nat is forced to admit that he is afraid of the bath. And then Pat shows up. Pat the Rat is not afraid of the bath and jumps right in… Urging Nat to follow.
My new reader at home squealed when he found the book waiting for him. He confidently read the book and has already grasped many of the comic book reading concepts.
The bright white page backgrounds with large cartoonish drawings fill up a page. The limited color palette is reminiscent of Mo Willems’s style, as is the sparse amount of words on the page. The drawings are deceivingly simple and endearing. There are plenty of visual clues for readers to try and guess why Nat is refusing to take a bath.
The unknown narrator is a fun and clever literary device that younger readers won’t get. This is why I encourage teachers in older grades to look at this book and teach literary devices using this title and others like it to illustrate harder-to-grasp literary concepts. It also opens up conversations with young readers about fear and confronts those fears.
A must for every school and public library that serves young readers. Parents should run to share this book with their children.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
SLJ Blog Network