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Book Reviews for Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats

Cherub Book Reviews

Waking Brain Cells

Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats.
Joosse, Barbara (Author) , Jutte, Jan (Illustrator)
Apr 2012. 40 p. Philomel, hardcover, $16.99. (9780399254307).
In their latest collaboration, Joosse and Jutte (Roawr!, 2009, and Sleepover at Gramma’s House, 2010) hoist a sail tale about a shipshape man who has everything he needs—or so he thinks. Each day the old man sails the salty sea, and each night he docks his boat, until one evening when an unexpected visitor arrives: a dancing cat in a pale pink dress who asks to come aboard. Old Robert agrees and prepares toast in buttered milk for two, and they both go to bed with the cat sleeping in a wee hammock. The next night a singing cat appears, and the next night a juggling cat. But it’s a scrawny little black cat with no talents at all that steals Old Robert’s heart and winds up going to sleep on his chest. The ink, watercolor, and acrylic illustrations have comic overtones with strong black lines delineating the waterside scenes. This tender story proves there is always room in the heart for one more. Bonus: the back flap supplies a website to download Joosse’s song, “Old Robert.”
— Julie Cummins


JOOSSE, Barbara. Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats. illus. by Jan Jutte. unpaged. Philomel. Apr. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25430-7. LC number unavailable.
PreS-Gr 2–Old Robert has his life and possessions in perfect order, sailing the sea by day and resting safe in a slip at night. Then one night a cat dancing on the dock asks to come aboard his boat. At first, the sailor is resistant to change but gives in. Then two more talented cats ask to join him, one playing a ukulele and the other a juggler. As the felines dance, juggle, and play into his life, his routine changes and smiles begin to appear on his face. Finally, Old Robert takes in a black cat without any obvious talent and continues to smile. With the help of his new friends, he changes his lifelong habits and opens his heart to joy. The playful illustrations, created in ink, watercolor, and acrylic, are done in a cartoon style. A song called “Old Robert” can be downloaded from for use with the story. This salty adventure will make an entertaining read-aloud.–Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN