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Friday, October 3, 2014

Silhouettes and Night Vision

In 1945, artist Dahlov Ipcar illustrated her first book...and began a career in children's publishing that lasted decades. Though many of her books are out of print, several have been reissued over the past years (and many more will be reprinted in 2015). My dear friend told me about some this summer, and my teaching partner discovered them a few weeks later.

This week we shared THE CAT AT NIGHT (originally published in 1969 and reissued in 2008) with first and second graders. They were mesmerized by the double-page spreads that alternate between silhouettes of things we would see at night and bright double-page spreads of what those same scenes would look like for a cat with excellent night visions. Their engagement with the cat's actions and the text was so intense they answered the unseen narrator's questions repeatedly. 

"And what does the cat see now?"

Voices on the story steps described what they imagined the silhouettes to reveal. And at the end, when the cat is curled up asleep by the stove, chuckles arose as the farmer commented about the cat's laziness, sleeping all night and then all day, too. Cat comments flowed from their own experiences. Most interesting, though, was one from a second grade teacher about my age who was astonished that I read the book she checked out so often when she was in second grade was the one I read to her class today! She always loved it and assumed it could never be had again. How happy she was to take it back to her classroom - and her own cats - this weekend.


  1. How perfectly wonderful, Jewel! I've not always been receptive to this Maine artist, so thanks for sharing about the sharing of this book!

  2. She's a BIG deal in this state. Love her colorful art in those books.

  3. I love books that present things from a very different point of view. Will look this one up!