Books by Laura Cecil

Released: March 15, 2004

Three cat folktales are simplified and typographically designed to encourage reading aloud, as the introduction explains, by concentrating on direct speech rather than description. "Puss in Boots," "The White Cat," and "Sir Pussycat," an Italian variation of "Diamonds and Toads," incorporate different type styles and bold-faced phrases to suggest sound effects and dramatic moments and to allow for multiple voices and listener participation: "Stop complaining!" snorted Puss. "Find me a bag <\b>and a fine pair of boots." <\b>Chichester Clark's familiar sprightly art illustrates the tales; set against white backgrounds, the brightly colored scenes, often no more than spots, enrich each story's vignettes. The book succeeds in its purpose with the device encouraging expressive reading aloud while bringing two lesser-known tales to young readers and their families. As the introduction says, "All reading starts as reading aloud." Bravo. (Folktales. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 22, 1993

In the manner of Cecil and Clark's three other thematic anthologies (e.g., Boo!, 1990), seven poems and six stories, virtually all from well-known sources, though the selections (e.g., Thackeray's verging-on-gruesome ``Little Billee'') are often less familiar than the authors (including Lear, Mahy, Farjeon, and Kipling). Adäle Geras's title story—a mermaid barters for freedom with a commodity that, on shore, becomes the silky stuff now called taffeta—is typical of the light, fantastical spirit, as well as the high quality of the humor and imagination. A couple of unusual stories are especially welcome: a whimsical Czech tale about the boy Jonah, who has a comical encounter with a whale, and the editor's retelling of a Venetian story about an enchanted crab. Clark's beautifully painted, charmingly witty watercolors add to the humor on almost every well-designed page. (Anthology. 4-10) Read full book review >