Final Thoughts: Cats Are a Liquid

Cats are a liquid

except when they’re not.

Cats Are a Liquid, Rebecca Donnelly

About a week ago, I came across an article about a scientific study that concluded that cats are both liquid and solid. It won an IgNoble Prize, so it was making news. It sounds weird, but it was a fascinating study. Imagine my surprise when this week I came across a picture book inspired by that same study – Cats Are a Liquid by Rebecca Donnelly and illustrated by Misa Saburi!

This book is completely adorable and kind of thought provoking as well. It looks at the ways that cats are different levels of liquid or solid at any given moment (and at how cats interact with other liquids and solids). The book is filled with kids dressed in lab coats with beakers, clipboards, and lots and lots of cats. They are clearly studying the liquid/solid states of cats (and trying to just live with them sometimes!) and the pages are filled with scenes familiar to anyone who has lived with a cat.

I love the variety of cats and of kids. There’s a huge range of characters and many of them have an impressive amount of personality, given the sparsity of the text and complete lack of any individual ever being singled out.

At the back of the book is information about the study that inspired it as well as an experiment to create a substance that can be both liquid and solid without a “state transition” in between (boiling, freezing, etc.). It’s a great way to get kids thinking about this relatively complex idea as well as about the difficulties of defining states in general. I love that she included this great backmatter!

Are cats a liquid? I have no idea. But I do live with a cat and he sure seems capable of oozing when he wants to, which is a liquid property! But whether they are or not, the book is adorable, fun, and totally thought provoking. I would definitely recommend it.

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