I AM THE CAT

PLB 0-688-13154-9 All aspects of the personality of a cat, no matter how maligned, are seen through a set of witty poems and pictures full of visual puns. Egyptian hieroglyphs on the endpapers hint at the cat’s timelessness, followed by the collection itself, introduced with a close-up of a cat’s face and one paw swiping through a mousehole at the resident, hilariously backed into a corner. For every lyrical haiku setting forth a single attribute of cats, a longer poem appears to contradict—even demolish—it. After a lovely scene of a cat lapping at the reflection of a moon in a puddle comes a Genesis-like telling of the cat’s fall from grace because it sipped from the moon. A haiku on the one feather found on a cat’s whiskers gives way to a poem on stalking mice, right to the crushing last line, “Mine!” In “Sophie, Who Taunted the Dogs,” the sublime Sophie meets with a very grisly end after teasing neighborhood dogs. If cats are cuddly, queenly, sneaky, devilish, and aloof, they are captured here, attribute by attribute. Children will rush to find cats, rabbits, mice, and T-rexes Buehner shows hiding in the rain puddles of a city street or the cracks of a broken headlight, posing as clouds or doubling as leaves in a field. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-13153-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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