What Can Cats Do? by Abner Graboff is an innocent yet perceptive mixture of questions, statements and observations comparing what a child can do with life as a cat. Graboff’s expansive, bold illustrations are robust, captivating and full of warmth and humour. The expressive characterization of the cat under scrutiny will ensure this feline finds a way to earn a welcome place in your lap as you share this book with little ones.
In a wonderfully childlike (but never childish) way Graboff slips in a fair bit of philosophy under the fun. Just what makes us us? What sets us apart? What can we do and what are our limits? These questions, though unlikely to be verbalised, are just perfect for young listeners to this perfect picture book who will be at an age where much of their exploring of the world is ultimately about finding answers to these questions. But if existential questioning isn’t what you’re in the mood for, then this book also works simply as a celebration of the mysterious and marvellous ways of moggies, gently capturing their independent and sometimes secretive nature.
Originally published in 1963 as A Fresh Look At Cats, 55 years later this book is still as fresh and funky as it was back then. Its witty observations will make you giggle. Its fluid yet striking illustrations will make you smile. Utterly gorgeous!
With the help of our own feline we set about creating our own art inspired by Graboff’s line and wash technique.
Indian ink is waterproof and so if it is left to dry (this doesn’t take long – often just a minute or so) before applying a watercolour wash it rather magically stays unperturbed whilst the watercolour paint swirls and blotches, making for an interesting painting experience. We used Indian ink to create our outlines and then filled them in with watercolour.
We’re rather delighted with our final art gallery. That said, we don’t know what our cat thinks of the paintings 😉