Monday, September 15, 2008

David Catrow Illustrated Children's Books

It's been awhile since I've written about my children's book fetish, so I went searching through the bookcase to find some good ones.  Today I decided to focus on some books where I particularly like the illustrations.  David Catrow illustrations are some of my favorites. He makes caricatures of people that are just hilarious.

This first book, The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln, is written by Mike Reiss, and it's about Benjy who is eight years old and looks like Lincoln.  As you can imagine, he gets teased about his looks.  He hears "Hey, Stinkin' Lincoln!" and "Split any rails lately?" Ha, ha, ha, right?

My personal favorite was always "Hey Jill, where's Jack?" to which my reply after awhile became "Gee, I haven't heard that one before."  Pretty snotty, I know.  I never made any friends with that one either.

Anyway, I'll try to focus here, Benjy's parents send him to a summer camp for kids who look like things.  There he meets all sorts of kids that make him feel better about himself.  The kicker is when his baby brother, Dickie, is born and looks like another famous president.  I won't tell you which one, but you can probably guess.

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell is another of my favorites.  The plot is predictable, but the humor in this book is in the illustrations.  Molly Lou Melon looks a little goofy and she gets teased by Ronald Durkin who likes to call her Bucky-Tooth Beaver.  Molly Lou Melon doesn't let Ronald Durkin's bullying bother her, and instead she wins him over.  It reinforces the sticks and stones message in a good way.

Are You Quite Polite? by Alan Katz and David Catrow is a book of silly manner songs which are really pretty cute.  Here are a few titles for you to ponder: Jimmy Picks Boogers, Don't Talk with Beans in Your Mouth, and Peter the Sneezer.  Here's the first verse of the title song,  Are You Quite Polite? sung to the tune of "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"

Are you quite polite
Having dinner every night?
Do you stomp up to the table
And then chomp in monster bites?
Are you eating or just slurping?
And do you conclude by burping?
Are you quite polite?

On second thought, I might need to show this one to Peanut Head for a closer look.

This next book, We the Kids, is on my wish list.  It's about the Preamble to the Constitution.  I love books that are funny and teach kids something at the same time.  And if they add some over-the-kids'-heads humor in for the parents, even better.

I've posted about this book before, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! and it's another great one illustrated by Mr. Catrow.

David Catrow has other books that I've not pictured here, but these are the ones that I'm familiar with and love.

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman is the last of his illustrated books that we have in our library.  This book is a series of notes written back and forth by Alex and his mother, with Alex listing all the reasons why he should have an Iguana for a pet and his mother's replies why he should not.  I think all of us can relate to this one, as most of us have begged our parents for a pet at one time or another.  

In fact, I'm currently on the other end of this argument as the girls have been begging us for a fish.  I am insistent that I don't want any caged animals (cleaning the cage grosses me out) and I really don't want something that swims in its own poop.  Eeeew!  Grody with a capital G.


  1. girlies love books, thats a good sign!

  2. Nice illustrations :). I'm always on the hunt for great children's books and have recently discovered Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks and DiscoveryBoxBooks. There's lots going on too:
    This Month Storybox has guest illustrator Helen Oxenbury fetured.
    There's a Readathon happening in the Ireland region -
    There's a Ghost Drawing competition in AdventureBoxBooks assiciated with the Polka Theatre (

  3. Thanks for such great ideas for childrens books. I'm always looking and wondering. I'm going to have to look for some of these.