Cat’s First Baby
Cat’s First Baby book review
by Robert Hudson
In October 2021, artist Natalie Nelson introduced children and parents to a twist on the classic “bringing home baby” story in Dog’s First Baby. Now, it’s Cat’s time to shine in the heartwarming and playful companion board book, Cat’s First Baby (Quirk Books; On Sale: March 1, 2022; Board Book; Ages 2–5; $9.99).
Cat’s First Baby captures the wonder and humor of meeting a new baby through the eyes of a curious cat who must come to terms with—and maybe even become friends with—this peculiar new family member. Cat is skeptical of this new addition to their home; who exactly is this small being? It doesn’t meow like a cat, or smell like a cat, or even have a tail like a cat. As Cat investigates, he might just come to appreciate this loud, silly family member. After all, they both enjoy a good catnap.
Featuring Nelson’s charming mixed-media illustrations alongside a sweet and playful story, Cat’s First Baby is a must-have read-aloud for babies in cat-loving families and is the perfect gift for baby showers or children who are about to meet a new human sibling.
Our review of Cat’s First Baby
A cute and adorable picture board book about a cat’s view of a new human baby in the household. The charming illustrations will open your child’s heart to the love and appreciation of living things that share our space.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR
Natalie Nelson is an illustrator, picture book maker, and collage artist. Trained in graphic design and illustration, she works in a mixed-media hybrid of cut paper, collage, and digital art, with an emphasis on intriguing shapes, textures, and layers. Her illustrated work includes five books for Groundwood Books, including A Storytelling of Ravens and How Emily Saved the Bridge. Her art is in demand from national clients including the New York Times, the Washington Post, TIME, Curbed, Eater, the Bitter Southerner, Teach for America, Vox Media, Mailchimp, and more. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their dog Coach, and their young son.
A conversation with Natalie Nelson, author and illustrator of Cat’s First Baby
Quirk Books (QB): Cat’s First Baby is such a wonderful companion to your previous book, Dog’s First Baby! What inspired you to capture this special moment in a new parent’s life through the eye of a cat?
Natalie Nelson (NN): Once I had the idea for Dog’s First Baby, I knew I needed to make a cat companion. It just made sense to do these books as a set—one for dog people, one for cat people.
QB: How different do you think dogs and cats tend to react when being introduced to their human siblings?
NN: I had to do a lot more research about cats and babies than dogs and babies, because I don’t have a cat. I interviewed about a dozen cat-owning friends and acquaintances, and also watched a lot of cat and baby YouTube videos—which I highly recommend if you need a pick-me-up, by the way! Most of the interviewees said something to the effect of “cats definitely have affection for their people, but they aren’t as showy about it as dogs are.” I used this as the driving force behind Cat’s First Baby. I wanted to show that the cat was, slowly but surely, warming to the baby, but in a subtler, wrier way than the dog.
QB: For Dog’s First Baby, you pulled from your personal experience of introducing your dog, Coach, to your baby. Did you pull from personal experience for Cat’s First Baby?
NN: I did pull a lot of general baby things from my experience with a baby and pet. I actually wrote, and illustrated most of, Dog’s First Baby when I was pregnant with my son, so it was all based on my best guesses of how baby and dog would, or wouldn’t, get along. I wrote Cat in the first few months of life with a newborn, so I did have much more hands-on life experience to pull from at that point. Babies definitely disrupt every part of life in the house when they first arrive!
QB: Are there any other pets you’d want to include in future projects?
NN: It’s hard to think of another pet that would be as classic and common as a dog or a cat. Maybe a horse? Or a hamster!
Cat’s First Baby
By Natalie Nelson
Publisher: Quirk Books On sale: March 1, 2022 ISBN: 978-1-68369-293-5 e-ISBN: 978-1-68369-294-2 Price: $9.99 US/$12.99 CAN Board Book; Ages 2–5