First published in 1697, Charles Perrault’s Puss in Boots tells the story of a clever cat that helps a humble boy rise to noble ranks. This classic tale inspired Fred Marcellino’s first full-color picture book for children, an outstanding work that brought him a prestigious Caldecott Honor.
Set in 17th century France, Marcellino’s illustrations are filled with lavish costumes, architecture and interiors of the period that provide comic contrast to the outrageous maneuverings of the charismatic cat. Modeled after his own felines, Charlotte and Harriet, the artist’s Puss is a mythical helpmate who accomplishes the impossible and is allowed to exist outside the limits of social convention. The artist broke with tradition when designing the book’s stunning front cover. Devoid of text, it features the mysterious Puss wearing a white ruffled collar and plumed red hat, his green eyes staring intently at something beyond the picture plane. The title design appears on the back of the book.