Caldecott Award winner They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel might give the first impression of being simple, however, it's anything but simple. Charming readers with Monet meets Picasso style illustrations and evident understanding of perceptions, Wenzel created a classic picture book relevant to the world today, yesterday, and tomorrow. As the cat walked through the world with its whiskers, ears, and paws you see a typical house cat. But, wait! The cat is transformed as seen by its many encounters in the world. . . a child, a dog, a flea, a mouse, etc. Each personality sees the cat through its own lens. So a child sees a lovable creature whereas the dog sees a slim, sneaky foe. The flea sees an inviting home but the mouse sees a ferocious beast. In the end, the reader views a multi-perspective image of the cat. But then the cat came to the water and imagine what it saw. Which leads me to ask my young readers, "What do you see?"
If you dig a little, you find a book that portrays how each of us have our own life experiences that shape our individual point-of-view. Depending who you are, what part of the world you live, and the influences surrounding you, depends on the lens you look through. We, the "grown-ups" of the world, recognize that each person has a unique point-of-view and appreciate differences. Don't we? I'm not sure. When I watch news channels, I see more talking, interrupting, debating, deliberating at each other rather than hearing, listening, empathizing, and learning from one another. Perhaps looking through the lens of others is not as simple as it seems. And teaching young readers the value of unique perspectives of individuals just might change the world. Will the news channels ever be bearable to endure? I don't know. In the meantime, I'll turn the news off and turn my mind on to a good book. Now that's simple!