You will love Not a Cat
. This is a friend in a cat suit! -- Gloria Steinem
Gato is my Yoda. I love this book. -- Samantha Bee
Add to the great philosophers in history, along with Plato and Kant, Gato the Cat. Well, maybe not a cat. Hmm. Just call Gato a cat searching for a sense of self, with verve, humor-and plenty to teach us along the way. -- Nicholas Kristof
Gato, like all really interesting people, contains multitudes. -- Jessica Love, author of Julian Is a Mermaid
Can a cat teach us to embrace our multitudes? When that cat is Gato, as interpreted by Winter Miller, the answer is yes. -- Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk
What a fun, absolutely gorgeous book. It will invite young readers to open up their perspectives. I'm in love with Gato! -- Maulik Pancholy, actor&Stonewall Honor-winning author of The Best At It All
I don't feel that 'cat' describes me, a sleek gray tom announces at the start of this mod memoir, a children's book debut as told to playwright Miller by her late pet, Gato. First outlining the numerous ways he's similar to other animals (Sometimes I eat grass. Maybe I'm a cow?), Gato goes on to describe having many human-like experiences. Stylish unlined illustrations show the feline driving a taxi in San Francisco, taking the subway in N.Y.C., and sipping a milk cocktail beneath the Hollywood sign. How do you know I'm not a person? questions the cool cat, clad in a green track suit and gold chains, before the book concludes with a fitting challenge to labels' utility. Novgorodoff's illustrations aptly portray people of various abilities, ages, cultures, religions, and skin tones, and a final portrait of Gato beneath the framed, cross-stitched adage You be you resoundingly drives home Miller's message of acceptance.
Between his opening greeting and the bookend closing page on which he stalks away after taking no questions, Gato wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Although he has four legs, two ears, and a long, long tail, the word cat does not define him. His identity is his alone to describe and determine.
With the help of Danica Novgorodoff's laugh-out-loud illustrations, author/storyteller Winter Miller takes young readers on a fun tour of Gato's adventures, accomplishments, and daily activities that makes mincemeat of any first impressions. Gato wears a sweater and a leash, so is he a dog? He runs in pastures, so is he a horse? He likes flowers, so is he a bee? He swims, so is he a duck? He has flown in airplanes and ridden in subways, so is he a person? Maybe he's all those things, but what he truly is, he wants us to know, is Gato.
Critique: Based upon the author's own feline companion, and to underline this message of empowerment and self-identity, the back cover and backmatter include photos of the real Gato (Winter Miller's cat) doing everything he claims and more. Signs on walls, headlines in newspapers, New Yorker cartoon homages, and sight gags on every page reward repeated readings and will make Not a Cat: A Memoir an truly fun picture book with a serious underlying message about self-determination. All the more impressive when considering that this is the author's first children's picture book, and while also available in a digital book format, Not a Cat: A Memoir is an original and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-5.
-- Susan Bethany - Midwest Book Review