Books by Christa Kempter

DOCTOR MOUSE by Christa Kempter
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 4, 2020

"Charming, upbeat quirkiness. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A white-coated mouse opens his barn-cum-office daily to a variety of equally anthropomorphic animals—all of whom benefit from the good doctor's unconventional methods. Read full book review >
WHEN MAMA CAN'T SLEEP by Christa Kempter
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: April 1, 2011

This is a sweet bedtime number, with a very human, lightly delivered text and artwork that carries the reader away to a toasty, gladdening home. Mama can't sleep. She shuffles into her pink bunny slippers and stares at Grandma's birthday present, sitting there on the floor, neatly wrapped and "which she should have mailed yesterday." Papa can't sleep; he's worried about the broken washing machine, which he goes to inspect. Teddy the teddy can't sleep, because Max has rolled over on him, and Max can't sleep "because the ghost behind the curtain is sighing," and Sam the dog can't sleep because of all the padding about. What's to do but crawl into bed together (the ghost gets to hover nearby) and drift off, all wrapped in Papa's embrace. The story is beautifully comforting in showing children that parents can be careworn without emotional trauma. Sure, everybody's got some problems, but they'll wait. Putting an icing on the proceedings are the pastry-rich illustrations. Each two-page spread of heavy-gauge, high-gloss paper (extra-resistant to toddler drool) is a set piece, radiant with pigmentation and neat as a pin. And then there's the parental bed, same as it ever was: Under those covers there is succor and surcease, your own little acre of milk and honey. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
UNCLE RABBIT'S BUSY VISIT by Christa Kempter
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

Can the bustling Rabbit and the laid-back Bear share a house? Wally, a big brown bear, is working in his vegetable garden when he gets a letter from his (wife's) Uncle Rabbit, announcing an imminent visit. Wally and his rabbit wife Mae make haste to clean up. Uncle arrives with two large trunks and lots of ideas about making over Mae and Wally's home. He rearranges the furniture, changes the wallpaper and makes new silk curtains, just for starters. It's too much for Wally, who angrily tells Uncle Rabbit that he hates all the changes. With admirable politeness, Uncle Rabbit says that it's time for him to leave. Wally's attempts to apologize don't change his position; he calls a taxi and departs, but not before offering to return and sort out Wally's garden. "You need a little variety," he declares. Kemper's clever premise is undermined by a vague and unsatisfying ending; Weldin's soft illustrations have more warmth than the story. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
WALLY AND MAE by Christa Kempter
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Though the cover depicts a closer alliance than the story ever quite achieves, this take on compromise provides fuel for thought. When neatnik bunny Wally advertises an upstairs apartment for rent, Mae, a huge bear, shoves her way into the house, turns her room into a pigsty and cheerfully gobbles up Wally's carrot cakes. When Mae invites her many brothers over for a wild party a frustrated Wally at last tries to put his slipper-clad foot down—but instead is swept up in the dancing until he collapses. Tenderly put to bed by his tenant from hell, the next day Wally realizes that he had fun and hops upstairs to push Mae into cleaning up her act a bit. Genial Mae and sibs are appealingly shaggy, massive presences in Weldin's cleanly drawn scenes, and along with the humor inherent in the characters' size differential, young readers will appreciate how the lay of Wally's long ears so clearly telegraphs his ups and downs. The friction disappears a little too easily, but this isn't exactly The Odd Couple. (Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
DEAR LITTLE LAMB, by Christa Kempter
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

The illustrations don't pick up on the topicality of this import, so some discussion might be required when it's shared with fledgling Internet users. A predatory but lazy wolf strikes up a correspondence with a tender lamb he's spotted in a nearby valley, and eventually invites him to visit. Before the eager lamb can set out, however, his cautious mother decides to check the post office to find out all she can about this "Wolfgang." The irascible canine postmaster refuses to cooperate until the wolf himself shows up, snarling threats. The outraged ewe forces the wolf to write a "goodbye" letter, then gathers up her family and moves to Australia. Maczka distances readers by giving the wolf a portable typewriter rather than a PC, and placing the whole episode in an outdoorsy setting—but the message is plainly there and definitely worth sharing despite the simplistic ending. (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >