Saturday, November 29, 2008


THERE ARE CATS IN THIS BOOK by Viviane Schwarz (Candlewick)
This title is a promise kept, as page after page follow Tiny, Moonpie and André under blankets, among tangles of yarn, in and out of boxes, and into an imaginary ocean full of fish. What really sets this book apart is the banter the text initiates with the reader, requesting that he or she turn the page, turn back to play some more, turn the page to rescue them, or blow on the page to dry them off (a low-tech interactive tack first taken in the 1970's, with Sesame Street's still delightful THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK). How lively and satisfying! How silly! Fun with a group or one-on-one, the bright colors and loose, quick-sketch lines fly across the pages like a kitten across a newly-waxed floor. There are cat people, and there are book people, and if you or your young reader fall into either (or both) of these groups, you are bound to fall in love with this feline play-date. (3 and up)

Also of interest:
Let's give the canines some equal time here!
THE DOG WHO BELONGED TO NO ONE by Amy Hest, illustrated by Amy Bates (Abrams) A precious pup lives a parallel life to a lonely little girl, and when their worlds collide, it's a wish come true for both of them. Though the perfect-pet-finding premise of this book is not new, the artfulness is in the execution. The author narrates with carefully paced rising action and thoughtful, emotive detail reminiscent of Rumer Godden (if you have not yet become acquainted with Godden's children's holiday classic THE STORY OF HOLLY & IVY, you're in for a treat), with a kind of earnest sentimentality that is just the kind we need to feel our hearts beating again. All of the characters feel like flesh and blood, rosy-cheeked and alive. The Depression-era backdrop feels (unfortunately) timely, and underscores the hard work, diligence and cooperation which makes the girl and mutt especially deserving of their happy ending. How fitting that the girl's parents are bakers, because this book is warm with a capital W, and the experience of turning page after autumn-toned page is like sitting while bread bakes and knowing you will get the first buttered slice. The puppy is beyond adorable and it would be hard to believe he hasn't found an owner at the outset, except for our knowing that the perfect owner is right around the bend...and you can read this book with the confidence that the story and audience are equally well-matched. (5 and up)

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Anonymous said...

Hey I know you! You're from Educating Esme! You're a blogger AND you're from Chicago? You triple rock!

Anonymous said...

The Dog Who Belonged to No One made me go out and get a stray from the pound. I think it should have a warning label. "Do not read if you are pre-menstrual"


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