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Not a Cat: A Memoir

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Winner 2023 Children's Book Council Award - Kindergarten to 2nd grade A funny, expansive, affirming story with a powerful message of self-determination for young No one can label us if we do not allow ourselves to be labeled. Our identities are ours to choose and to live. Between his opening greeting and the bookend closing page on which he stalks away after taking no questions, Gato wants to make one thing perfectly Although he has four legs, two ears, and a long, long tail, the word “cat” does not define him. His identity is his alone to describe and determine. With the help of Danica Novgorodoff’s laugh-out-loud illustrations, he takes us on a tour of his adventures, accomplishments, and daily activities that makes mincemeat of our first impressions. He wears a sweater and a leash, so is he a dog? He runs in pastures, so is he a horse? He likes flowers, so is he a bee? He swims, so is he a duck? He has flown in airplanes and ridden in subways, so is he a person? Maybe he’s all those things, but what he truly is, he wants us to know, is Gato. To underline the story’s message of empowerment and self-identity, the back cover and backmatter include photos of the real Gato (Winter Miller’s cat) doing everything he claims and more. Signs on walls, headlines in newspapers, New Yorker cartoon homages, and sight gags on every page reward repeated readings and will make this book the first one that parents reach for at bedtime. full color

32 pages, Hardcover

Published March 22, 2022

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Winter Miller

9 books1 follower

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5 stars
48 (36%)
4 stars
34 (26%)
3 stars
36 (27%)
2 stars
8 (6%)
1 star
4 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 50 reviews
14 reviews
March 19, 2022
The illustrations are adorable, and I loved the story and message!
Profile Image for Jamie Sanders.
1 review2 followers
March 25, 2022
A very special cat (or more than a cat) in a very special book. Inventive, funny and necessary.
A great way to gently open up the door for a child to discover who they are. And to maybe discover they are more than they seem. Like Gato. Gorgeous, playful illustrations.
Profile Image for Kailey (Luminous Libro).
3,058 reviews453 followers
October 17, 2022
Gato the cat is having an identity crisis. He's not sure if he is really a cat, or he might be a dog, a duck, a horse, a bee, or even a person. He seems to like some of the same things as all these other animals, and he has ridden in airplanes, taxis, and subways like a person. Maybe he is just a different type of cat with a wide range of experiences.

This is a silly story, and it is fun to follow along with Gato while he tries to make sense of his multitude of interests and hobbies. I'm just not quite sure what the philosophical message was supposed to be. The story sort of meanders around with a lot of weird questions and never comes to a conclusion.

I liked the illustrations pretty well, but the art style was not exactly my cup of tea. It's fine, but did not appeal to me. The pages are brightly colored with cute scenes of Gato doing silly things. The fun part is that the real-life Gato actually did those things! I liked that it was based on a real cat.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.
Profile Image for Jonathan M. Katz.
Author 3 books130 followers
April 2, 2022
An absolutely charming book with an important message for young and old alike (and those who don’t identify as either). Wonderfully imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny illustrations that are a joy to read over and over — and over — again to a toddler who can’t get enough of them. ¡Viva Gato!
112 reviews
March 31, 2022
This is a great book! It values all the ways people can be themselves without beating you, or your kids, over the head with it. It's charming and fun. The illustrations are lively and engaging. And the story is a good one. There can be no discussion. There can be lots of discussion. Good for a range of ages, my pre-k and 3rd grader each enjoyed it.
1,279 reviews
February 26, 2022
A charming reminder not to judge books by their cover -- just because you APPEAR a certain way doesn't mean you must act/think/behave a certain way. A good you-do-you book for nonconformists.
Profile Image for Jilanne.
Author 3 books22 followers
February 21, 2022
Funny and engaging. A great way to start the conversation about who you are. How you can be many things, and not necessarily how your external self presents to the world. I really enjoyed the illustration style, its varying perspectives and playfulness. I think kids will like this sassy cat, too. I also liked how the cat, Gato, directly addresses the reader with very specific questions, an effective way of pulling kids in. My review is based on reading an electronic version.
2 reviews
March 25, 2022
We love this super cute, funny, beautifully illustrated and awesomely written book. The pages are short enough that my toddler doesn’t lose interest, but not too short that it would be uninteresting for an older kid. But seriously, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful and it really is wonderfully written, I’m so excited to add this to our library!
Profile Image for Blair Braverman.
Author 5 books423 followers
April 1, 2022
This book is incredibly winning! Gato is hilarious (I also love how photographs of the real Gato are incorporated) and the illustrations are so funny and beautiful that I wanted to hang some of the pages on my wall. I keep discovering new details when I reread it. A wonderful way for kids, like Gato, to celebrate being themselves.
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.2k reviews276 followers
January 12, 2022
Based in part of the adventures and identity of the author's very own cat, this picture book follows Gato as he dismisses any assumptions that readers may have that he is a cat. While it's true that he possesses many feline attributes, he also enjoys some of the same activities as dogs and ducks and has had many adventures. Feline-lovers will recognize Gato's cocky attitude and the truth to his statements, and many readers will gravitate to his message of empowerment and encouragement to be true to oneself or as the needlepoint on the wall in the last image proclaims, "YOU BE YOU" (unpaged). Maybe, just maybe, it's possible to be all these things whether you're a cat or a human. Plus, you get to decide how you will be defined, not someone else. The colorful illustrations bring the story to life with a variety of shapes, sizes, and witty headlines on the page with Gato peeking over his copy of The Mew York Times: "West 86th Street Cats Say No to Dry Food," "Cats Gain Two More Congressional Seats," "Catnip Legalized on All 7 Continents," all unpaged. The facing page consists of a close-up of Gato's face, glasses perched on his nose, and whiskers bristling. Readers will appreciate having two photos of the real Gato on the back endpapers. After reading this memoir, my own cats find they have a lot to live up to.
Profile Image for Jill.
1,189 reviews5 followers
March 23, 2022
Gato is a cat. Or maybe he’s not. He likes flowers, just like bees. He likes to swim, just like ducks. He likes to jump around in fields, just like rabbits.

But he’s a cat.

Gato has been on airplanes and subways. He even drove a taxi.

But he’s a cat.

Or, he’s a cat, plus all the other things he wants to be. He doesn’t let anything hold him back. He doesn’t care what others think. Gato’s going to live his best life, no matter what anyone else thinks, and his journey is an inspiration.

Not a Cat: A Memoir is a love letter to Gato from his pet parent, playwright Winter Miller. Charmingly illustrated by Danica Norgorodoff, this short book is a celebration of Gato’s life and spirit. Miller draws on Gato’s experiences to show children how they can be whoever they want to be, and it’s a winning message from a grinning cat.

I thought Not a Cat was an adorable picture book with a strong message for kids. I loved hearing about all of Gato’s adventures, and the artwork is filled with energy and movement and imagination. I was hoping to learn more about his relationships, especially with his pet parent, but other than that, I thought it was a lovely book, and it will be a great addition to bedtime reading.

Egalleys for Not a Cat; A Memoir were provided by TvS Media Group, with many thanks.
Profile Image for Elaine Luttrull.
Author 1 book2 followers
March 28, 2022
Gato is not a cat; or rather, not *just* a cat. Thank goodness.

By sharing in Gato's adventures -- especially the unexpected ones -- through beautiful illustrations and prose that strikes just the right note of rhythm and surprise, we learn that we are more than what our descriptors suggest.

This book quickly became a favorite in our household with praise from readers young (reminding our preteen that she is not in fact limited by labels), younger (helping our very young niece the animals: cat, duck, bee), and not-so-young-at-all (reminding us older folks of the profound impact of children's literature and simple truths).
Profile Image for Larissa.
10 reviews2 followers
March 25, 2022
Gato was an amazing cat with an amazing (and very extended) family who loved him and enjoyed living vicariously through him. I appreciate that he chose to leave his memoir to us as a way to remember him, and as a reflection of how to live our most adventurous lives. Winter Miller helped Gato leave behind a legacy of adventurous and non-stereotypical living, and Danica Novgorodoff brings his zest for life to all of us through her illustrations.
I read this aloud to my puppy and he was soothed enough by the ideas and pictures to promptly take a nap. He is, for sure, a dog. ;)
1 review2 followers
April 3, 2022
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Not a Cat may technically be a children’s book but it’s that magical kind of children’s book that we ALL need to read. It’s bright and fun and the illustrations are an absolute delight, but it’s so much more than that.

It’s a book about not needing to fit the mold. About being ourselves. About being multi-dimensional. With very few words on the page, making the text as accessible as it is relatable, Gato reminds us that every one of us is far more than meets the eye. And that there’s nothing more beautiful than being exactly who we are.
1 review
March 23, 2022
Is this a book about a cat? Of course not. Gato is not a cat. He’s part dog. He’s part cow. He’s a bird. He’s a plane. But He is not Superman. This cat can be anything—and that’s the point. This book leads to great discussions with kids, because it floats off the page with questions! Who or what is this Gato who rides the subways and mingles with the stars in Hollywood? The answer at the end of the book is powerful and freeing. Find yourself, yourself. This is an adventure we should all take,
2 reviews1 follower
March 23, 2022
Children’s books provide an important tool for parents and educators to share lessons and create a vision for the world as it is and how we want it to be. “Not a Cat” tells a story of refusing to let your identity be boxed in by the outside world, allowing you to define yourself. This book is a powerful path to empowerment and I look forward to sharing it with the young people in my life. (It’s just too bad my own children are already adults — otherwise it would be in regular rotations.)
Profile Image for Cheryl.
9,804 reviews415 followers
June 9, 2022
An homage by Gato's human companion, a writer of adult works. The title could be "Not Just a Cat" and imo would work better that way. The point, the message, is made three times in sequence - kids are not that stupid, Miller.

I kinda wonder what all the other "not a cat" search results are about. Are they all different enough, or are most of them unnecessary because they all make the same point?
3 reviews
March 23, 2022
We've loved following Gato's adventures for years so when we got the chance to purchase his memoir as told to his human we were here for it! I love the message it gives that just because you're you doesn't mean that you need to be labeled any one way. You can BE all the YOUS you are and be joyous and happy about it. If only everyone could be more like Gato.
1 review
March 23, 2022
Kudos Winter Miller. Someone obviously read Winter Miller a lot of books when she was a child. 'Not A Cat" has perfect pacing, isn't cluttered with unnecessary words, and left me with a warm smile. The message that you are unique is an important one to start learning early in life.

The illustrations are wonderful. My favorite is inside the subway car.
Profile Image for Dan Schwartz.
2 reviews
March 24, 2022
Not a Cat: a memoir is a soaring playful book about the life of Gato, a soulful traveler who journeys far and wide experiencing life without the constraint of being defined. Lushly illustrated, Gato's story (as channeled through Winter) brings up the idea of seeing existence through different lenses. A wonderful book and message!
1 review
April 6, 2022
A heart-warming, clever, insightful book that invites readers (young and old!) to explore their authentic place in the world beyond facile categories and easy labels. A beautifully and simply told story with a lot of depth and humor and smarts behind every word and illustration. Gato is an inspiration.
2 reviews
April 10, 2022
I totally agree with Gato. I hate being pigeon-holed, labeled and CATegorized! It's great to watch Gato go through the list of possible things he could be...and mostly...be free to be whoever or whatever he wants to be. The drawings are yummy. A fun book. For lovers of free-thinking kids...and all the rest of us!
April 20, 2022
Loved the illustrations and the story. I am reading it to my nephew and he loves it. I enjoyed the story and I think everyone adults and kids should read it. Reminds me of my dogs who often act like humans. Whose to say they don't think they are! The message for kids is great...be you and do it well. Love it!
1 review
April 24, 2022
I bought this book for my friend's young child. It is a charming and playful story about a real life cat brought to wonderful life by the delightful illustration. It has a sweet message that honors being true to oneself when how we define ourselves falls outside the mainstream, which touched my heart.
March 23, 2022
My grandsons, age 2, 3, and 14, loved this sweet book, with such a loveable cat and illustrations that engage adults as well as kids (the child in the stroller is reading The New Yorker, the cat is reading the Mew York Times). Loved this book.
Profile Image for Oliver Butler.
1 review11 followers
March 24, 2022
Really- when I think about all the things I wanted to be and how I think maybe they’re impossible, GATO teaches me that we can be who we want by thinking outside of the small frames we place or others place around us. I love this book. Instant classic. Artwork is beautiful and so joyful!
3 reviews
March 30, 2022
The girls (ages 6 and 3) both LOVE this book. And I love the way they shout "YOU BE YOU" at the end. Gato is inspiring to all of us. This book will be heavily featured in our rotation until the sequel!
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,378 reviews147 followers
March 30, 2022
A cute one I found in the catalogs.

While the illustrations are cute with cheeky background jokes, and Gato does have a point that we shouldn't judge people (or cats) solely based on their appearances, I didn't LOVE this one for some reason.
1 review
April 1, 2022
Not a Cat" is a wonderful tale about an amazing cat, Gato. It is beautifully told by Winter Miller and illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff.  It makes me want to sing and dance, play the guitar--which I cannot do--and laugh every time I read it.

April 3, 2022
Playful, delightful and engaging. The beautiful illustrations portray a confident cat ( or not) . Gato’s embrace of so many ways to be in the world is refreshing. I could say more but I need to take my dog out - I think she is a dog.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 50 reviews

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