Thursday, March 15, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Chester

Although I am no cat lover, I enjoyed Chester so much that I just had to recommend it.

While researching picture books that break the fourth wall, I came across Chester, a picture book about an ego-centric cat who hijacks his owner's picture book with his own red marker.  

Title: Chester
Author/Illustrator: Mélanie Watt
Publisher: Kids Can Press Ltd., 2007
Fiction or non-Fiction: Fiction
Audience age: 4 and up
Theme: Competition, Fun, Humor

Opening page: 
"Once upon a time there was a mouse. He lived in a house in the country.

Then the Mouse packed his bags and went on a trip very, very far away and we never saw him again!"

Synopsis: From Kids Can Press, "Chester is more than a picture book. It is a story told, and retold, by dueling author-illustrators. 

Mélanie Watt starts out with the story of a mouse in a house. Then Mélanie's cat, Chester, sends the mouse packing and proceeds to cover the pages with rewrites from his red marker, and the gloves are off. Mélanie and her mouse won't take Chester's antics lying down. And Chester is obviously a creative powerhouse with confidence to spare. Where will this war of the picture-book makers lead? Is it a one-way ticket to Chesterville, or will Mélanie get her mouse production off the ground?" 

I couldn't find any resources for this book, but one fun activity could be picking out a picture book, reading the first few pages to use as a jumping off point to tell your own story.

Why I like this book:
Chester breaks the fourth wall and it does so one hundred percent.  In fact, "Chester" has red inked the cover and inside jacket flaps of the book as well as every page in between.  Author/Illustrator Mélanie Watt is so committed to "Chester" and his larger than life personality, that the character actually does come alive for me. I really enjoyed the out-of-the book experience, the feeling of spontaneity, and how the story takes on a life of its own. 

For more Picture Perfect Books please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.


  1. Chester is CUTE! I like the "place my award here" on the cover. I love the whole idea of the cat taking over the book :) This sounds like my kind of book!

  2. Did you laugh the whole time you were reading this one? It looks like it would be very clever and funny. Thanks for the great recommendation!

    1. It was hilarious -- with surprise after surprise, it kept me laughing.

  3. Oh gosh, this sound so clever, cunning and funny, I would love to read it.

  4. There are sequels to this book, too. Chester is such a crack-up. We just had "Chester's Masterpiece," out from the library, and I never heard so many giggles coming out of my 7-yo! Great choice!

    1. After reading this one, I will definitely be checking out the sequels.

  5. Chester sounds like such a very funny book! I imagine kids have a lot of fun laughing at Chester's antics. Great cover and selection for PPB.

  6. I laughed reading this..... Can imagine as a writer fighting with Great choice!

  7. This looks like a funny one. I just got a copy of a book Susanna reviewed a couple weeks ago — Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. It's a fun book with a rogue character interrupting the story. I'll have to look this one up.

  8. Hi Margaret,
    Thanks for the lovely review! This sounds like a hoot of a book...and I love your idea for the activity. Kids would love to begin a story they know and then continue it in their own fashion...what a great way to encourage their creative minds. :)

  9. Hi Margaret, it's great to discover your blog through the Perfect Picture Book Friday meme. I am constantly on the lookout for books whose joy and humor and zest for living jump out of the page, and it does sound as if this is a perfect example of that one. I loved your review and your enthusiasm in sharing this beautiful book with us. Will pin this in my Pinterest board so that I'd be reminded to borrow this from our library.

  10. This sounds delightful! I've seen Melanie Watt's name before (can't remember what book... sigh.) It reminds me a bit of "Interrupting Chicken" only more-so. I must read this!

  11. I am just now getting to read last week's PPBF list along with this week's list. I will have a doubly long list for the library this week.

    This sounds adorable! It's on my list!