Betty is a six-year-old girl living in San Dimas, CA with her parents, brothers, and grandmother. They have some indoor cats (Wallflowers) and outdoor cats (Wildflowers), as well as Rags the dog and Shakespeare the cow. They all live in harmony, but things are getting kind of boring for the cats.
The wallflowers long to be wildflowers, and vice versa. So, they trade places. In doing so, though, the cats learn that there is more to others’ lives than what we see. Graber teaches a lesson that never goes out of style: We must be respectful of everyone, because we don’t always know what they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Graber’s writing is really simple and easy to understand. The language used is meant for all ages, and the format of the book is even more so. Children’s books often have the layout of illustration(s) on one page, paragraph pertaining to it on the page across from it. That’s exactly how this book is formatted. Occasionally, the illustration and paragraph will be on the same page, so there is some variety to keep us interested.
Shinn’s illustrations are very appealing. She uses very thick line weights to create bold characters. They are a bit cartoonish, which works really well with the all ages aesthetic of the book. The artwork itself could tell the entire story. Shinn captures both emotions and actions perfectly, from cat envy to cat fright from dogs.
This book gives one of the most important lessons that not enough people have learned. Respect each other. Not only is it a great message, but it is told in the greatest, cutest, most understandable of ways. The creative team on this book has done a fantastic job making a book that we can all relate to on some level. I definitely recommend checking it out.
Written by: Maura J. Graber
Illustrated by: Christie Shinn