Cover image for I am the cat
I am the cat
Schertle, Alice.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A series of humorous and serious poems about cats.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS595.C38 S34 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.C38 S34 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
PS595.C38 S34 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.C38 S34 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS595.C38 S34 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In poems and paintings as wise and wicked as the Cat herself, Alice Schertle and Mark Buehner present this most magnificent of creatures in all her glory: taunting the dogs, stalking a mouse, "mistress of both earth and sky" -- and ever mindful of her own splendid role. Who can resist her charms?

Author Notes

Alice Schertle was born in 1941. She graduated from the University of Southern California. This mother and former teacher is an award-winning poet and the author of over forty books. Her children's books include All You Need for a Beach, All You Need for a Snowman, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, Little Blue Truck, A Very Hairy Bear, and Little Blue Truck's Christmas. She lives in Plainfield, Massachusetts.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 7^-9. In this somewhat surprising book of poems, cats aren't always soft, cuddly felines. In the first full-length poem, which plays with myth, Schertle explains how the cat lost its feathery wings and became earthbound, "living low like / common bugs and frogs / keeping alleyways, / and being chased / by dogs." In another, a taunting feline, who meets a nasty end ("'Twas murder most foul"), takes a haunting revenge. Between each of the longer poems, which usually encompass several pages, there's a double-page spread with a haiku on the left side and a compact illustration on the right. Beuhner's artwork helps make up for this somewhat confusing juxtaposition. His illustrations are crisp, funny, dramatic, even a bit scary, with the added bonus of lots of "hidden pictures" to keep children entertained. The jacket painting of a black-and-white cat is especially nice. A mixed bag. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Alternating narrative poems with haikus, this mostly savvy compilation of verse distills the essence of cat with humor and, occasionally, wry elegance. Schertle (Advice to a Frog) is at her best in her comic poems. In the tongue-in-cheek "Sophie, Who Taunted the Dogs," she describes the demise of her feline heroine, slain by a "cur" she has unwisely teased, and follows the episode up with a mock-ghostly conclusion: "And still, it is said, when the moon rises round/ and gold as a cat's eye, the dogs hear a sound.../ That devilish voiceÄ/ how it hunts them and haunts them!/ That soft, silken songÄ/ how it teases and taunts them!" The haikus and the more serious poems have eloquent moments (a cat "lap[s] in soft gray/ waves against my legs") but sometimes fall prey to banality or clich‚ (a sweet ode to a kitten ends with a reference to its "tiger's heart"). Buehner (The Escape of Marvin the Ape) accentuates the swing rhythm of the text, illustrating the haikus with small insets and heightening the jaunty poems in energetic page-size acrylic and oil paintings with exaggerated perspectives. As he did in My Life with the Wave, Buehner paints in hidden creatures (dinosaurs as well as domestic animals) and cleverly planted surprises (one cat marches past a background of bird wallpaper, on which five birds have been Xed out with chalk). Ages 6-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-6Four longer poems alternate with haiku in this slim, bold collection that observes different cats in tones both affectionate and sardonic. In the beginning,/when the Cat could fly,/the Master placed a pan/of white milk/in the sky. So begins an account of a feline in paradise whose silken wings are taken away when she falls from grace. In the end, shes reduced to running through a rainy alleyway with snarling dogs in pursuit. In four double-page spreads, another poem celebrates Sophies canine-taunting exploits, until, The last thing she heard/was a triumphant growl/as his jaws closed around her./Twas murder most foul. Done in acrylic and oil paints, Buehners dark-hued view of the terrified cat passing just in front of the toothy open mouth of the dog speaks volumes about Sophies nightmarish demise. Other illustrations are lighter in tone, and there are always bits of humor. Figures of mice and fish are outlined in a cats fur, and other small animals peek out of unexpected places. Perspective and shadow add interesting nuances to scenes that are sometimes cartoonlike and often a bit surreal. The final entry features a tawny tabby set against a copper-toned spoof of an Egyptian mural with cats in human form. These amusing images are enlarged on the endpapers. The strong pictures and verses offer enjoyable browsing and reading-aloud material and opportunities to pair with other items in booktalking.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.