Chester - Thao Lam
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Binky goes to work every day. Very punctual, you can be find Binky curled up under the office desk sound a sleep by 9 am morning. He has great work ethic and puts in long hours when needed (Binky will remain sleeping until quitting time). He is a caring coworker; if he thinks you are working too hard, he’ll sit on your keyboard, a subtle signal that it is break time. He has lots to contribute during conference calls and likes to respond to the voices coming out of the speakers (sorry, that helicopter noise in the background is the cat purring). Binky would be an asset to any company and we are please to have him as a member of our team. Keep reading…

Since writing and illustrating Scaredy Squirrel, Melanie Watts has taken on a partner. The author’s cat has decided to edit and improve her new book, Chester (which I am thinking was the cat’s idea, since his name is Chester). Melanie is trying to write and illustrate a story about a mouse but Chester the cat keeps interfering. Chester has gone through the entire book and marked up everything with a big fat red marker. It’s difficult to produce a book when you constantly upstaged by an overconfident cat. Will the story ever get finished? More importantly, who will get to write the ending?

I have a soft spot for animals so Chester just tickles me pink. His personality is as big as he is, a big fluffy kitty. What I love best about Chester is the sense of humor, which is carried throughout the book. Starting with the cover, where Chester has crossed out Melanie Watts’s name and has written his name in big red letters, then continuing on to the flyleaf, the front matter, the copyright page, the intro page, and all throughout the story. For me the humor carries the story and the illustrations play second fiddle. Painted in watercolour, the art is really simple, but the clever part is how Melanie illustrates Chester’s input. Though Chester is illustrated in watercolour, actual red ink is scribbled on top of Melanie’s work and an image of a marker is photoshopped into the art so it looks like Chester is actually writing with a red marker. She also gave Chester a shadow so it looks like he is actually trekking though the art and not part of the art on page. Little details like these makes it easy to believe that there is actually a big furball trampling through Melanie Watt’s story and not just some make believe character (wink).

Chester, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

Author and Illustrator Melanie Watt

Melanie Watts was pursuing a career in advertising when it took a surprising turn. She was taking a graphic design course at the Université du Québec à Montréal when her professor suggested she submit her class assignment, a children’s book, to Kids Can Press. Kids Can Press published Melanie’s first book, Leon the Chameleon, and helped launched her career in children’s literature.

To find more books by Melanie Watt, check out her website:


Publisher Kids Can Press (Sep 1 2007)

ISBN-10 1554531403

ISBN-13 978-1554531400