Picture Book Review: Paris Cat

Paris Cat by Dianne Hofmeyr

Paris Cat
by Dianne Hofmeyr
1 out of 5 stars

Paris Cat is born in a dirty alleyway where her cat relations eat fish bones. She runs into a dressmaker’s shop to get out of the rain, and begins sewing her own wardrobe from the fabric scraps. She visits a theater and dances onstage with Josephine Baker (who is a famous erotic dancer from history known for her skimpy costumes) and Chiquita the leopard. Eventually, she opens her own dancing club and cafe where her cat family and friends can benefit from her fabulous fashion creations and jazz music.

The reason for my low rating is the inclusion of Josephine Baker in this book in her skimpy costume. Paris Cat joins Josephine onstage for some erotic dancing in very revealing clothing.

I understand that Josephine Baker was a wonderful civil rights activist who even spoke alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., and she was part of the French resistance during WWII. She adopted 12 children because she had such a difficult childhood herself.

I mean, this is a person with a ton of good qualities that could have been highlighted in this children’s book, but instead we see her dancing on stage in an erotic costume. Why would you feature that part of her life in a children’s book? They barely mention the other amazing things she did in a blurb at the back of the book.

I just can’t understand the twisted lack of morality that would put this aspect of Josephine Baker’s career forward for children to learn about in such an inappropriate way. I really wish that they had included this historical figure in some other capacity other than erotic dancing.

I love that Paris Cat is determined and resourceful to build a new life for herself away from the old alley. She sees other people creating something or dancing or singing, and she decides that she can do it too. I love how confident she is in her own abilities, and she’s willing to work hard to achieve her dreams.

I’m not sure that I’m a fan of this art style. It’s a little too messy and garish for me. Everyone’s eyes are so dark, and every feature is exaggerated in a weird way. I know that is the style, but it’s not my cup of tea. The art is consistent and has a professional polish. It’s obviously well done, but it’s not my personal favorite.

I’m very disappointed in this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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