{book} oscar and the mooncats

on

DAY 14

Oscar and the Mooncats by Lynda Gene Rymond

Illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Houghton Mifflin, 2007.

No surprise for those who know me that I just recognized Ceccoli from the cover and had to pick it up once it was confirmed she was the illustrator—had no idea what the story was about. What a find, because Rymond is quite wonderful as well!

“Oscar loves his boy. But is love enough to get him home again?” (jacket copy). His talent for jumping up onto high places to see everything better lands Oscar onto the Moon one night. While some cats might jump to the moon and fall into distraction and forgetfulness Oscar is determined to make it home to his boy.

Oscar is a bit wild in that his exuberance takes him a bit too far. He doesn’t rein it in in time despite the pleas and scolding of his boy and from the roof he “sprang into the mightiest leap of his life…” The trouble in which he finds himself does not seem so troublesome at first, but being home is good too; and when that ability to return looks to be lost? Well, author Lynda Gene Rymond shows us that Oscar’s ability to take risks works in his favor as well. Oscar learns his lesson though. While being a jumping cat is who he will always be, he isn’t going to let that get in the way of his coming home.

It is a sweet story and I love the dynamic between the cat and his boy. The cat is this wild, mind-of-his-own kind of creature who pushes the limits of himself and the world about him—sound familiar? The boy cares for him, meeting both physical and emotional needs—who could that be? Rymond and Ceccoli are empathetic to them both.

Nicoletta Ceccoli makes gorgeous use of mixed-media illustration—as expected. The book lists that her mixed media includes “plasticine, acrylics, collage, and computer graphics.” The approach provides dimension, texture, and high visual interest—and with a cohesive quality that is truly remarkable. Ceccoli plays with perspective, shifting angles and depths, manipulating the lighting and lengthening distances, heights—which is of course is pertinent to the story. What can Oscar see from those heights of his? It is fun to pick out the references in the text as well as the other objects Ceccoli places in the setting. The sweets tin placed upon the top of the book cabinet is a nice touch, and the repetition of object-memory from the living room at the beginning and outer space.

I knew I could expect a treat from Ceccoli, her colors, textures, lighting and perspectives, but Rymond was new and the story equally unanticipated. Love when it all comes together. Without a doubt the story benefits from Ceccoli, but it does stand along quite captivating on its own.

Recommendations usually run from ages 3-5, but this would be good further along for those early readers who still crave the interactive qualities of picture books.

{images belong to Nicoletta Ceccoli and can be viewed at both author and illustrator’s sites.}

my previous posts referencing/featuring Nicoletta Ceccoli: Horns & Wrinkles, The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap, “ah, nicoletta,” “3 Barefoot Books.”

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Carl V. says:

    Nicoletta Ceccoli is a truly amazing talent. Her illustrations are lush and have a softness to them that makes me want to reach out and touch them.

  2. Katherine Herriman says:

    Thanks for the review – I just discovered this book and must have it! It looks utterly magical. Incidentally, my partner designed the WordPress theme your’e using! 🙂

    1. L says:

      sweet!

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