A well-intentioned but problematic tale.

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ALYCAT AND THE FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY

A new student rouses jealousy in this third picture book in the Alycat series.

Alycat, a kitten, hopes she can sit next to one of her friends on a field trip bus ride, but her mother assures her that “You’ll have fun no matter who you sit with.” At school, there’s a new kitten student, Phoebe. Aly feels left out when Phoebe and Alycat’s friend Luna sit together on the bus and exchange friendship bracelets. At the clinic, Dr. Katz explains that the heart has outer, inner, and middle layers. This dubious physiological information inspires Aly to make three friendship bracelets. She gives Luna and Phoebe one each, keeping a third for herself, and Phoebe thanks her two new best friends for a wonderful first day. Bourque (Alycat and the Monday Blues, 2017, etc.) provides a practical solution for dealing with jealousy and welcoming newcomers. However, the message has some odd undertones; few adults would agree they’d have fun on a trip “no matter who [they] sit with,” for example, and Alycat’s bracelets could be seen as an instance of the constant emotional labor that’s expected of women. Also, as visible symbols, bracelets can be used to exclude as well as include. Returning illustrator Civati’s illustrations, though, give the book a charming retro feel. Bracelet-making instructions are included.

A well-intentioned but problematic tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68401-903-8

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Mascot Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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