Book Review: Chester, series title #1 by Mélanie Watt

by DerdriuMarriner

Chester by Mélanie Watt delights readers of all ages, beyond the target audience of 4 to 8 years, with a country mouse’s picture book story being taken over by a strong-minded cat.

Are cats an author's and illustrator's best friend?

Characters sometimes access their author long before the writer moves their story from the mind’s eye to the printed page. Chester the cat belongs to such a creation story for a character whose existence merges:
• data;
• experience; and
• imagination.

Readers thus consider Chester’s birth as dating to the release in 2007 of the feline’s autobiography in combination with his creator’s biography when in fact his existence in Mélanie Watt’s mental drawing board goes back to 1999.

Chester finally decides to wait no longer for stories to be illustrated and written about and by him. He effectuates changes by applying red marker make-overs to what publishers expect to be the life-story of Country Mouse in his country house.




A table temptingly set with cheese wedges is welcoming to Country Mouse, but not to Chester the cat.

still life macro photo: tilsit cheese on plate
still life macro photo: tilsit cheese on plate

Do cats draw and tell the funnest stories?


So Country Mouse soon finds not only his adventures taken over, but also his house made over and his furnishings marked over, by Chester. Chester indeed goes in for:

  • fake-overs of Chester’s ball of yarn in Country Mouse’s former armchair, Country Mouse’s floor-length drapes to Chester’s tag My curtains, and Country Mouse’s living room wall of pictures to Chester’s Home Sweet Home cross-stitch;
  • make-overs of the signpost Mouse’s House to Chester’s House;
  • mark-overs of the trio of living room portraits of Country Mouse and his parents to three of Chester, Chester’s father, and Chester’s mother; and
  • take-overs by a fish of Country Mouse’s side-table for cheese wedge.

Chester has Country Mouse packing everything and traveling far away. 


A pink tutu offers an unexpected twist as author Mélanie Watt dampens Chester the cat's enthusiasm for freelancing as author and illustrator.

cat and tutu
cat and tutu

Is a scary dog savvier than a cat?


There is the indication of plot complications yet to come, with Chester printing ¡Hasta la vista! (“Until the sight!” loosely) under the window view of Country Mouse’s plane heading off … but returning from Mexico with:

  • sarape;
  • sombrero;
  • souvenir; and
  • suitcase.

Chester nevertheless judges his author/illustrator claims strengthened by replacing the story of Country Mouse’s carrot-eating vegetarian dog with the tale of bird-filled, flower-friendly, tuna fish-visited, mouse-free Chesterville’s most Charming Handsome Envy of mouse Smart Talented Envy of Mélanie Really handsome resident.  He keeps control by:

  • assigning Country Mouse to a mouse hole; and
  • having a ball of yarn as a toy and a can of tuna fish as a treat within easy access of the armchair.


Chester by Mélanie Watt ~ available via Amazon

Mélanie Watt lives in Montreal, Quebec. She is the author and illustrator of a number of children's books including the Scaredy Squirrel series.
Chester series

Will tutu-izing Chester inspire more than caricaturizing Mélanie?


Make-overs, mark-overs, and take-overs lull Chester into over-confidence. He no longer mulls such plot-threatening interruptions as Country Mouse’s dog and rainfall. So his autobiography ending with him sporting a pink tutu and princess crown -- not the dreamed-of pink neck ribbon -- really needles Chester.

Chester therefore offers children and grown-ups of all ages -- beyond the target audience of pre-schoolers to third-graders aged 4 to 8 years -- culturally enriching, educationally entertaining adventures with such domesticated animals as cats, dogs, and mice, thanks to:

  • Sophie Gagnon’s author photo;
  • Kids Can Press Ltd.’s publishing arrangements;
  • Tara Walker’s editorship; and
  • Mélanie Watt’s design, illustrations assembled digitally from pencil and watercolor, and storyline set in Carnation and Kidprint text. 


Chester by Mélanie Watt

Published on YouTube on January 27, 2014 by MrMattperreault ~ URL:



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


A red felt marker enables Chester the cat to launch a takeover of author Mélanie Watt's story about a Country Mouse.

closeup of red felt marker pen
closeup of red felt marker pen

Sources Consulted: Chester Sells in English and French Language Formats


Watt, Mélanie. 2007. Chester. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Tonawanda, NY, U.S.A.: Kids Can Press. 


Rain foils Chester the cat's attempts to rewrite author-illustrator Mélanie Watt's story about a Country Mouse.

rain on car window, Sneyd, Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands, England
rain on car window, Sneyd, Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands, England
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Pretty in Pink Kitten: pink t-shirt available via AllPosters

Pretty In Pink Kitten
Ad AllPosters

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 03/18/2015, DerdriuMarriner
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