While it’s true that The Cat’s Pajamas, by Wallace Edwards, is another of the gorgeous picture book genre I adore—and while it’s also true that it’s been designed to amuse and enthral children, which it will certainly do, it must be said that even better than all that, it’s a tremendously fun parlour game for adults.
At least in my world.
I bought the book as a gift for a tiny person I know but haven’t given it away yet, in fact I’ll have to buy the kid another copy. This one’s mine. (I’ve since discovered it’s a follow-up to Edwards’ Monkey Business, which will be next on my list…)
As you may have worked out, The Cat’s Pajamas is heavy on idioms. Each page, a beautifully illustrated bit of quirkdom depicting one of the twenty-six idioms that make up the book—such as a panda seated at a table, playing a fiddle with a string of spaghetti (above text which reads: In order to have dinner music, Andy was forced to use his noodle.)
It doesn’t matter that the very young won’t get the nuanced brilliance of the compositions or the humour or the double entendres—they’ll be more than entertained with the absurdity of the pictures. (Did I mention that each illustration contains a hidden cat?)
Older kids though, and certain adult types (ahem)… will find that trying to guess the idiom being depicted is a whole other level of merriment.
—A camel stands beside two small suitcases in what appears to be a desert; a single palm tree behind her, a train track in front. She’s draped in several colourful blankets, a feather headdress and beads. Each foot is placed deeply and firmly, it seems, inside either a strawberry or chocolate ice cream cone.
Text: “The Oasis Express was running late, so Camilla had to cool her heels.”
An anteater in pearls, long tongue fully extended and in her hands, stands beside a goat in a striped dressing gown who points to a collection of quite hideous art.
Text: “The sight of Sir William’s new painting made Anita hold her tongue.”
I actually played this with friends the other night. Granted, it could be that I hang around with fairly nerdish types, birds of a feather and all that, but it was just the thing between the soup and the nuts. And the bonus is that if you, like me, have an increasingly short memory, the game can be played any number of times with exactly the same level of challenge.
Oh, and don’t forget, you can also read it to the kidlets.
If you must.