Books by Patience Brewster

PEEWEE AND PLUSH by Johanna Hurwitz
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

PeeWee, the intrepid guinea pig, is back and now he has a mate. Timid Plush, the only other guinea pig that PeeWee knows in Central Park, is the object of his affection. A nameless man who figured out that PeeWee needed some companionship bought her and set her free in the park. At first, things don't look good for the young couple; while PeeWee has learned to embrace the life and breadth of the park, Plush longs for the coziness and comfort of her cage in the pet store, where food was abundant and humans held and stroked her. Eventually, her thirst and hunger force her to leave the hole that PeeWee has prepared for her. Their sweet relationship mirrors human ones: a misunderstanding causes a rift that takes time to mend, they learn to appreciate the hobbies and passions of the other, and eventually they learn the joys and challenges that come from raising a family. The joys of a burgeoning friendship and love delightfully unfold through the world of these two fluffy critters and their squirrel friend, Lexi. Whether they are listening to Puccini (Plush has learned to appreciate all things operatic during her time in the pet shop), or PeeWee is reading aloud from Thomas Hood's poetry (PeeWee learned a thing or two from his mother in the pet store too), or thinking of ways to protect their young family from approaching winter, PeeWee and Plush celebrate the many joys of life. The ample white space, sweet pencil drawings, and generous font make this a fine choice for the earliest reader. It's one of friendship, love, and working together that will warm all but the most jaded of hearts. (Fiction. 8-11)Read full book review >
LEXI’S TALE by Johanna Hurwitz
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

Lexi, a precocious squirrel, and PeeWee, an abandoned guinea pig, band together to help a hungry and friendless man in this latest Park Pals Adventure. Growing up in Central Park, Lexi has learned a lot from observation and even more from his enormous family. Wisdom like "Go dig for nuts, don't dig for trouble" prevents Lexi from helping the man initially, but PeeWee's trust and compassion convince Lexi and together they help the homeless man find food and eventually reunite with his family. Humorous anecdotes about the lives of squirrels and their views on humans add to this charming tale. Pen-and-ink drawings scattered through this small book depict Lexi training for the upcoming Squirrel Circus and show PeeWee's amazing ability to read. Although occasionally didactic, no one who reads this will ever look at these furry little creatures in the same way. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
THE MERBABY by Teresa Bateman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 15, 2001

A gentle teaching story with lovely watercolors in every hue of aquamarine, opal, and sea foam. Tarron serves his older brother Josh, who sails only for the profit of fishing and does not see the magic and adventure of the sea. They encounter a mermaid, but Tarron keeps his scarf around his head is and is not seduced. When their nets pull in a merbaby in the next catch, Josh rejoices, thinking their fortune is made. But Tarron cannot bear the thought of the tiny green-eyed babe put on display for gain, so he takes a small boat and sneaks away to take her back. So astonished is the mermaid by Tarron's gesture that she calls him "Mer-friend," fills his boat with treasure, and returns him to his brother's ship. Tarron shares his goods with his brother and gets his own ship, gathering adventures and tales as he goes. The message of care and compassion, as well as the power of dreams—there's a wonderful image of Tarron with his own ship tangled in his hair, a visible vision—are played but not hammered, and the ships, merpeople, and fishy denizens are rendered with graceful energy. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
PEE-WEE’S TALE by Johanna Hurwitz
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

A precocious guinea pig finds himself adrift in Central Park in a tale of high adventure. Readers follow Pee-Wee's progress as he moves from pet shop to the apartment of his new owner, Robbie. When Robbie's mother's abhorrence of anything rodent-like leads to Pee-Wee's abrupt arrival in the park, the naïve foundling endures several harrowing encounters with creatures of both the two-legged and four-legged variety. With the help of his new squirrel friend Lexi, Pee-Wee soon acquires some street smarts and a taste for freedom. A remarkable ability to read—he was taught by his mother from the newspaper scraps underneath their cage—enables Pee-Wee to warn Lexi and some other squirrel families that their trees are going to be cut down, engendering for him hero status among the park animals. When he discovers Robbie at the park one day, Pee-Wee decides that, perilous though it may be, he has learned to love his freedom. Told from the guinea pig's perspective, the animals in Hurwitz's tale come off sounding a whole lot more reasonable than their human counterparts. She liberally infuses the story with wry humor; the fast-talking Lexi's speech is peppered with adages that have received a squirrel twist—"A nut in the jaw is worth two in the paw"—and keeps the tale moving at a swift pace. Brewster's appealing pencil sketches appear sporadically throughout the text, complementing the tale. Winsome drawings depicting Pee-Wee's wide-eyed gaze and stout, fluffy little body are sure to melt even the hardest of hearts. A caveat: this tale of freedom gained may leave readers longing to emancipate their own caged darlings. (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
THE FANNIE FARMER JUNIOR COOKBOOK, Rev. ed. by Joan Scobey
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

This third edition of a title last revised in 1957 reflects changes in nutritional attitudes and technology (microwaves, food processors) and includes dictionary-style chapters on basic ingredients and techniques, lists of equipment and utensils, safety, and menu planning. The 130+ recipes are clearly presented (in complete sentences—no telegraphese); there are basic dishes like vegetable soup, baking-powder biscuits, hamburgers, and brownies as well as a few regional and international dishes with wide appeal (salade Nicoise, tabbouleh, pesto, ratatouille, stir- fry, gazpacho). All would be doable by reasonably dexterous middle- graders; recipe selections represent a good basic repertoire for any cook. Attractive, large format with helpful b&w drawings. Index. (Cookbook. 10+) Read full book review >
YOO HOO, MOON! by Mary Blocksma
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

On ``Level 1'' of the ``Bank Street Ready-to-Read'' series, an appealing story about a little bear whose animal friends cheerfully awake to help summon the moon she says she needs before she can go to sleep. The animals spot different lights that seem to be the moon—a light in a window, a headlight; at last, the real thing appears and everyone goes back to sleep- -except Bear's cat, who has slept throughout but now wakes to yowl. The language is neatly phrased to include plenty of the rhymes and repetitions that are entertaining and especially instructive at this level; the rhythm wanders in and out of a predictable pattern, disconcerting the ear. Still, an enjoyable addition for the newest independent readers. The text is on a pleasing blue ground, carrying out the nighttime theme and providing a soothing frame for Brewster's comical watercolors of a pillow-soft world and cuddly-looking creatures, glowing with rich, dark tones. (Easy reader. 4-7) Read full book review >
BEAR'S CHRISTMAS SURPRISE by Elizabeth Winthrop
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 15, 1991

In Bear and Mrs. Duck (1988), the appealingly childlike toy reluctantly made friends with a new babysitter; by now, Mrs. Duck is an old friend. Nora has warned Bear not to investigate the wrapped gifts while she's out shopping, but a long time in her closet during a game of hide-and-seek provides an irresistible temptation that leads inevitably to disappointment: the hoped-for train can't be in those little parcels. Nora comes home to comfort and cheer up Bear, but wisely not to reveal her secret until the lesson is absorbed; then the train turns up under the tree after all. A warm story with endearing characters, nicely extended in the sympathetic illustrations in holiday colors. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
RABBIT INN by Patience Brewster
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1991

Pandora Lapinandro begins a monumental list of tasks that must be done before the arrival of mysterious, important guests. She enlists the help of her husband Bob and also of the guests of their homey, garden-surrounded inn, while the list—festooned across the illustrations—continues to grow (``change sheets/pickle beets/buy soap/buy rope/scrub tub'') until ``All that was left was one daily chore for each animal guest''—just in time to welcome the new baby bunnies. The text's amiable spirit of cooperation and anticipation is beautifully extended in the illustrations; these rabbits, with their expressive, elongated ears, are captivating, while every detail of their domestic arrangements contributes to the theme of welcome and nurture. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >