Books by Judith Kerr

ONE NIGHT IN THE ZOO by Judith Kerr
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2010

Bright, cheerful rhymes and soft, witty illustrations tell the story of a most curious night at the zoo while presenting the numbers one to ten in this smart and silly counting book. What did the zoo animals do on this particular evening? Definitely not what you'd expect. The imaginative ideas will have children giggling, and the simplicity of the rhymes will encourage readers to come up with their own. As the text dances along, it explains that one elephant flew, a crocodile and kangaroo rode a bike for two, three lions entertained a gnu and so on, until ten cocks cockadoodledoo! to let the animals know the keepers have arrived in the morning. Children will enjoy spotting the mischievous animals that do not return to their proper places and will be deeply satisfied to hear that although the animals seem tired, nobody knew what they were up to during the night ("…Except you!"). A recap of all the animals counted is included at the end. A fun-filled selection, great for home and for the classroom. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
GOODBYE MOG by Judith Kerr
ANIMALS
Released: March 15, 2003

Readers who remember Mog from Kerr's long popular and recently reissued Mog the Forgetful Cat will be both happy and sad to see this final episode in the long series by the British author/illustrator. As the title, cover art (Mog floating in a starry sky), and opening sentences ("Mog was tired. She was dead tired . . . I want to sleep for ever") not too subtly foreshadow, Mog is ready to die. Being a curious cat, a part of her "stayed awake" to see what would happen in the Thomas house. After a period of mourning, Mrs. Thomas brings home a kitten that has a hard time adjusting. Afraid of newspaper, noise, and being held, it is most comfortable hiding under the couch. It's a good thing that Mog is still keeping an eye on things. After a brief jealous period, she takes heart ("I knew they'd never manage without me. I'm going in") and models proper behavior for the kitten, including jumping, hiding under newspapers, and playing with bags. Mog also pushes the still-shy kitten into Debbie Thomas's arms for some petting, which it discovers it likes. Finally, Rumpus is ready to become the new family pet. Debbie Thomas notes, "I'll always remember Mog," and the never-humble Mog leaves this earth thinking, "So I should hope." Now Mog is able to take the last part of her journey, as "she flew up and up and up and up right into the sun." Although Mog's slightly ghost-like celestial presence is easily spotted in each picture and each family member does weep following Mog's death, there is nothing scary or overwhelmingly morose here. Kerr's understated humor and cheery, cartoon-like illustrations make the mood more sweet than sentimental or frightening. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
THE OTHER GOOSE by Judith Kerr
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2002

Kerr, author of the beloved Mog books, uses soft, colored pencils and a Mother Goose-meets-The Ugly Duckling story to weave an uneven tale about a lonely goose in search of a mate. As the only goose on the town pond, Katerina wants the other goose—the one she sees reflected in the shiny side of a car—to "come out of the car" and be her friend. When Katerina stops a robbery at the bank, the townspeople reward her; the next day, the shiny car pulls up, the door opens, and Charlie, Katerina's male counterpart, "comes out of the car." The narrative stands on the interplay between text and picture; Kerr's scrawling colored-pencil illustrations complement her text nicely, adding humor where it is lacking. The choice of colored pencils as a medium creates the look of a child's drawings, simple and straightforward. Kerr's dialogue is patchy, at times unoriginal, and yet sometimes wonderfully clever. When Katerina sees the robber carrying a bag, she thinks, "it was a goose-sized bag and there was something in it. There was a goose-sized thing in that goose-sized bag." The logic here follows nicely, as Katerina pieces together the scene and comes to the realization that something is wrong. Yet many of Katerina's actions seem forced, as if placed strategically to arrive at the final "wink" in the story—the "coming out of the car" play on words. While young and old audiences alike will get a kick out of this joke, the wordplay alone does not hold up as the backbone of the work. New readers will be able to "read" the pictures, without ever knowing a word. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >