[I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. No other compensation was received.]
Neo the Cool Cat is a gorgeous and captivatingly enigmatic picture book that has me floored.
Neo is one cool cat! He loves getting massages, listening to jazz, and especially the sounds that different objects make when they hit the ground. He’s always busy exploring and playing with his younger sister, Mini. He’s not always well-behaved, but he is, fundamentally, a sweet cat and his human, Miba, loves him dearly.
But one day Neo wakes up and cannot move. When Miba tries to pick him up, Neo hisses at her. That’s when she and Mini know that something is really wrong. Miba does everything she can to help Neo feel better — but nothing helps.
Out of helplessness and frustration, Miba cries. One of her tears drops onto Neo’s belly and turns into a magic paintbrush! Armed with her paintbrush, Miba paints a door onto Neo’s belly, opens it, and dives inside.
Once inside, this story turns into a surreal but tender adventure as Miba figures out how to save her beloved, Neo. There’s a lot more to this story’s plot and it has some interesting twists and turns, but I really don’t want to give too much more away.
After reading it the first time, all I kept wondering was: How? How did they create such a surreal experience that is also so loving and sweet? Neo the Cool Cat highlights that a picture book can be simultaneously surreal, tender, positive, and kind.
Neo the Cool Cat is a personal account of the helplessness that we face when our loved ones are ill. Yet it has such a touching resolution, that to read it is to have an empowering and uplifting experience.
At first I thought my son just enjoyed the book. After reading it the first time he enthusiastically asked for me to read it to him again and again. We read it every day, several times a day, for several weeks and he loved it. But both he and this book stopped me in my tracks one day when he was in trouble for carelessly knocking over the baby. I was upset with him and he asked for my forgiveness. I was shocked because neither I, nor my husband, had ever used the word forgiveness when talking with my son. We’ve asked and talked about apologizing and accepting an apology, but not specifically forgiveness. When I asked him where he had learned about forgiveness, he said, “Neo the Cool Cat.” Forgiveness is a theme addressed in the story, but I am still truly amazed that he was able to take the concept from this book and then apply it to his life. I can only image the other ways in which Neo the Cool Cat has influenced my family — and I look forward to watching them play out.
Roughly ages 2 to 10. Larv & Mib. April 2014. 140 pages. ISBN: 978-0989809511 Fiction.
Where to Get it:
- [Affiliate Link] Amazon.com
- [Independent Bookstore] Indiebound.org
- [Library] Woldcat.org — ask your library for it!
You Should Read Neo the Cool Cat because:
- It is 140 pages of beautiful art and amazing storytelling.
- Neo the Cool Cat addresses and explores our feelings of helplessness when someone we love is sick in a beautiful and productive way.
- It satisfies our desire to do something when we can do nothing but wait.
- It is tender, intimate, and inspiring while being funny, surreal, and wholly groundbreaking.
- The styles of illustration vary widely, each capturing vastly different parts of the story and emphasizing the extreme variety of moods and emotions that the characters experience.
- The wide range of feelings that the book takes you through is impressive — there’s tender affection that we hold for our pets, humor, drama, anxiety, empowerment, courage, fear, and resolution. It’s a whirlwind.
- The story has so much love and kindness imbued into it that it raises these already beautiful illustrations to an entirely different level.
- The illustrations are sublime and the story draws you in so much that when you finish you feel a little disjointed from reality.
Author and Illustrator Websites:
More Reviews of this Book:
- Check back soon.
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the authors. No other compensation was received. 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.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. 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.”