“A clever, humorous tale spun from the familiar relationship of a cat and a ball of yarn.”
Demonstrating a remarkable range of expressions for a moody feline, Cat is the contented pet and longtime friend of Girl. When Girl notices a sale at a yarn shop, she brings home a ball, which quickly becomes Cat’s new friend, Yarn. Cat and Yarn enjoy many activities together, like reading, sledding, and building snowmen, but then “Girl also wanted to to play with Yarn.” Unfortunately for Cat, when Girl “plays” with Yarn, she knits Yarn into a sweater for Cat. Cat is very unhappy with the change, and in anger, he marches out into the snow to find a way to ditch Yarn. Upon successfully peeling Yarn off, however, Cat realizes that he’s cold out in the snow without his old friend. That’s when Grant makes a masterful observation that applies literally to Cat’s situation yet offers an equally wise figurative lesson for readers: “Warming up to something new takes time.” Demonstrating his subtle wit—observant readers will notice that Girl has sketched a knit cap and mittens to accompany Cat’s new sweater—Grant knits a unique tale from a stereotypical relationship. Even the names of Cat, Yarn, and Girl, while seemingly defaults, feel intentional and fitting in this humorous tale.
Cat and Yarn are the best of friends. They have so much fun playing together, the two are inseparable.
Until the day Girl takes Yarn away.
When Yarn returns, he is completely changed, no longer Cat’s bright and rolly friend. Cat is mad!
Soon, Cat begins to miss his best friend, and he just might realize that a little change isn’t so bad after all.
Cat doesn’t like Yarn’s new “look” until he realizes how cold he is without his sweater. Has there ever been a time in your life when something changed, and at first you weren’t happy about the change, but later you realized you actually liked the change?
If you look closely at the illustrations, you can see clever clues about what might happen next in the story. This is called foreshadowing. What clues can you find that foreshadow what will happen later in this story?
This book may help a young reader learn that new friends change and that’s good.
Jacob Grant writes and illustrates stories for children. Absurd and heartfelt stories.
Originally from Ohio, Jacob now lives in Chicago with his patient wife and two less-than-patient children. When not trying to wrangle these little forces of nature, you’ll most likely find him drawing, painting and writing until something feels story-ish.
Cat’s expressions create a lot of humorous moments in the story. How did you make Cat so surprisingly expressive?
The power of eyebrows! It’s impressive what the little tufts can do for an expression. When sharing the book at readings, I draw several scenes to demonstrate how I create Cat’s range of emotions, and probably 90% of it comes down to eyebrows. Tilt them up, tilt them down, raise one, or both – the emotion changes with each little nudge. Surprisingly, no one has pointed out to me that cats do not typically have eyebrows. My reply would be: https://www.instagram.com/samhaseyebrows/.
What do you like most about Cat and Yarn’s friendship?
When first writing the story, I was excited by the idea of a character befriending an inanimate object. There’s something very sweet and child-like about that concept, but also a bit magical. A simple ball of yarn suddenly becomes something more, just because of the way Cat feels about it. It was later that I grew to appreciate what these two characters could say about friendship with Yarn’s transformation, that is, that friendship can change over time and that’s ok. Also, there are few things more fun to draw than a grumpy cat.
For Brother, my constant friend and occasional headache.
“Grant . . . pairs wryly understated storytelling with subtly funny cartooning in a story of friendship, sharing, and change . . . “
“The simplicity of the story is matched by graphically crisp illustration that captures cats’ well-known fascination with bright balls of yarn, as well as the comfort that everyday objects bring, a message little listeners will instinctively understand.”