In this week’s Marvelous New Picture book, Cooper and the Big Apple by Camille Cohn and illustrated by Riley Cohn, a cat from a small Texas town takes the trip of a lifetime to New York City. Visiting places such as the Statue of Liberty and China Town and riding on a subway, the feline details his fabulous adventure and all the neat things he sees and does. However, for Cooper the cat, the experiences he has in the city are quite different than what he expects. After being told he is traveling to the Big Apple, Cooper is surprised to arrive in a city filled with skyscrapers rather than the red, large fruit he had previously imagined. As his friend Jennifer continues to describe their travel itinerary, Cooper is continuously caught off-guard, shocked to discover that the New York Stock Market does not involve livestock and visiting the site of Breakfast at Tiffany’s doesn’t actually include breakfast!
As the reader ventures with Cooper, wondering what new discovery he will make next, his literal thinking continues to be charming and fun time and time again. Furthermore, his literal interpretations, conveyed primarily through illustrations, prove to be humorous and entertaining. The illustrations further impress as they combine a variety of mediums, including watercolor and backgrounds made of relevant materials, such as a New York subway map and sheet music for “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. These lovely details combined with the delightful misinterpretations of the feline protagonist work to create a fun-filled reading experience.
Not only is this new picture book a great, seemingly silly read for adults and children alike, but it can also be used to engender teachable moments and spark valuable conversations. While it may not be apparent upon the first read, Riley Cohn both created the masterful artwork and served as the inspiration for the story of Cooper the cat, which was written by her mother. Riley, a high school student who has autism, is similar to the cat in that she often interprets language quite literally, a common characteristic among those with autism. Thus, Cooper’s misinterpretations prove to portray the different way in which the brain with autism sometimes works. As a result, Cooper and the Big Apple serves as the perfect conversation starter, especially for the siblings and classmates of those with autism who may not immediately comprehend the different way in which their brother, sister, or peer may think.
Whether one is using the book to foster important autism awareness, explain the difference between literal and symbolic language, anticipate a trip to New York City, or simply giggle at Cooper’s adventures, Cooper and the Big Apple is definitely a must-read!
Loved Cooper and the Big Apple and want more readers to know about it?
Nominate it for the Texas Bluebonnet Award for Texas authors! Just follow this link: