Books by Catherine Walters

THE MAGICAL SNOWMAN by Catherine Walters
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

A little rabbit enjoys a magical interlude with his snowman. Daddy Rabbit chuckles indulgently when Little Rabbit insists that his snowman is "real," but readers will be able to tell from its encrusted sparkles that the bunny knows what he's talking about. Sent off to find berries (in the snow? really?), Little Rabbit becomes lost when a snowstorm suddenly kicks up. Lo and behold, the Snowman appears and leads him back to Daddy. That's about it. Edgson's soft-edged paintings deliver the goods: cute bunny, snowy wonderland, broadly beaming sparkly Snowman. If there's not much there, it is nevertheless an undemanding romp. Still, this has been done so many times before, chances are good it will last for only one or two readings before being cast aside for something different. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
PLAY GENTLY, ALFIE BEAR by Catherine Walters
Released: May 1, 2001

When a new baby brother and sister arrive on the scene, a young bear named Alfie must learn how to play gently with them. Used to the rough-and-tumble play of a bear cub, Alfie longs to share his world with his new siblings, but they are too young to play tug-of-war or the other fun games that he enjoys. Mother Bear encourages Alfie to go out and find a gift for the young cubs in the forest beyond the cave door, but instead of bringing them something soft and soothing, Alfie brings them stones to demonstrate the sound of thunder. Mother Bear then encourages Alfie to go and find the baby cubs a treat to eat, but instead of berries or honey, Alfie decides to bring them a big fish. Over and over, Alfie tries to share his world with the babies, only to find that his ideas are not quite right for the young cubs. Finally, Alfie tries to show them the rainbow that is arching across the sky, but the babies prefer to look at Alfie, demonstrating that they have really preferred him all along. Softly painted illustrations of this cuddly, teddy bear-like family will enchant young children while at the same time providing a useful lesson for siblings. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

A tiny kitten leaves no spot untouched in his quest for a napping space. Like his human counterpart, Goldilocks, Ginger Kitten has a difficult time selecting the ideal place: a wooden chair is too unyielding, a wee space behind a door too fraught with danger, a doormat too uncomfortable, and so forth. Throughout the house the resolute feline wanders until he discovers a special friend. Soon snuggled up within the cozy confines of a child's lap, the contented puss at last slumbers peacefully. Geras's lilting verses offer a humorous peek into the feline psyche; droll descriptions of his capers reveal an innate understanding of what the mysterious creatures are really up to. "Next, Ginger Kitten / Finds a box. / He pushes and squishes, / but it's much too small." Picture a windowsill of tumbling knickknacks and one startled, orange furball with great big eyes. Walters's sumptuous, vibrantly hued paintings are charming; outdoor garden scenes bloom in a riot of colors and overflow with intriguing details for little observers: buzzing bees, fluttering butterflies, etc. And Ginger Kitten is just about the cutest kitten around, exemplifying all of the mystifying, mischievous, and endearing feline mannerisms that make them so beloved to so many. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

This preachy, pedestrian cautionary tale isn't going to convince many children to change their ways. Simia, a young monkey, wants everything. But the flower she grabs on a tree branch turns out to be attached to a thorny cactus, a beautiful orange object is a snarling jaguar, a zigzag shape is a snake that "uncoiled itself and shot into the air" (say what?), a "coconut" turns out to be a wasp's nest, and so on. Later, Simia picks a flower that wilts, snatches a pretty stone from playmates and throws it into the lake, then almost falls out of a tree reaching for the moon. Mother monkey hammers the lesson home: " ‘Some things are for yourself, some things are for others, and some things . . . are for everyone to share. You don't have to own things to enjoy them.' " Instantly, Simia is satisfied. Right. Walters (Are You There, Baby Bear?, 1999) sets her little monkey into a series of lush, if static, forest scenes. An also-ran next to such similarly themed books as Marcia Brown's How, Hippo (1969) and Kate Banks's Baboon (1997). (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

The cuddly, inquisitive cub Alfie (When Will It Be Spring?, 1998) returns, this time on a quest to find his "missing" baby sibling. Chafing at the seemingly interminable wait for the arrival of the new baby, Alfie becomes convinced that he or she must have gotten lost on the journey home. The eager bear cub explores the woods searching for the baby. Walters's realistically rendered illustrations show Alfie on a merry chase as he mistakes one wild creature—a beaver swimming, a baby bison hiding, and a lounging mountain lion—after another for the baby bear. When Alfie's father discovers his discouraged cub, he takes him to the one place Alfie didn't search—home, where a new brother and sister are waiting. The lush nature scenes, populated by an array of lovable woodland animals, fill the pages, but this is a very human story, tempering this glimpse of a toddler's single- minded perspective with compassion and gentle humor. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
WHEN WILL IT BE SPRING? by Catherine Walters
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

Winter approaches. It is time for Alfie the bear cub to start hibernating. `` `When will it be spring?' asked Alfie. `And how will I know when it's here?' '' Mother Bear tells him to look for butterflies; when Alfie awakens and peeks out of the cave, he sees white butterflies everywhere. No, groans his mother, those are snowflakes. She tells him to wait for the birds; he sees icicles hanging from bright leaves and mistakes them for swallows. Alfie mistakes a hunters' fire for the warmth of the sun, and then, when spring finally arrives, goes to sleep among the wildflowers. That's the least original twist; otherwise, this perfectly captures the anxiety of the very young over the waiting process (``Is it morning yet?'' and ``Are we there yet?''). Walter's illustrations are scene-stealers, with their terrific evocations of wild landscapes and the creatures Alfie encounters- -bat, mink, wolf, lynx—during his midwinter investigations. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1995

A lop-eared rabbit named Millie lives in a small backyard hutch and is bored with the same old fare of lettuce, carrots, and no space to hop in. She stares at the tall green hedge at the end of the yard and wonders what it's like on the other side. One day she escapes into the wild where she is scorned for being a lowly pet, and for having droopy ears. Life in the hutch still doesn't look very promising, so Millie and a more tolerant wild rabbit begin a life of their own, in a glade apparently devoid of predators. The crew of characters are expressive and realistically drawn, but it's difficult to read this work without hearing echoes of other stories (The Velveteen Rabbit, The Rabbits' Wedding, The Runaway Bunny) of more enduring interest. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >