Goyangi Means Cat by Christine Mcdonnell pictures by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

The way this book is illustrated is very unique and very powerful.  The best way I can describe it — as I would turn the page and see the picture it would give me a particular feeling that completely influenced the way I would read the text.  I realize that this is what an illustration is supposed to do, but so far I haven’t felt it as dramatically as I did when I read this book.  The illustrations set the tone and directed me as to how I should read the book.  I will be reading more books illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher pronto.  I wonder if it is just this book or if they’re always like this?  Either way, their work for this book is very impressive.

The story is equally as impressive.  It is about a young girl, Soo Min, who is adopted and moves from Korea to the US.  She finds the transition (understandably) difficult, but finds solace in her new parents’ cat.  One day the cat goes outside and Soo Min is very upset.  The cat comes back at the end of the day and she is relieved.  This event also inspires her to say her first word in English: “home.”

While this book is about adoption, anyone can identify with the Soo Min finding comfort in a difficult situation and finding a way to adjust and adapt to a major life change.

I loved this book.

Where Obtained:  Library.

FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. alittleinkblog

    I found your response to this picture book really inspiring. It’s true that illustrations do influence how you read a text but it isn’t something you are often aware of when reading a picture book. It made me unearth some of my picture books and really think about my reactions to the drawings and how they affect the story. I saw some of my older picture books in a new light. The work of illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, especially his book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, always effects me in this way.


  2. Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it and that it inspired you to pull out some old picture books. I appreciate you taking the time to tell me. I definitely agree with you about Chris Van Allsburg. He’s a master influencer. I’m also impressed with how his illustrations stay with me long after I’ve read one of his books.

    Speaking of influencing: Your blog on drawing penguins has inspired me. I think tomorrow we’ll be drawing penguins. 🙂


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