A clumsily executed tale, although its happy ending will have some appeal.



An illustrated debut children’s book that tells the story of a family and their beloved cat.

Every morning, a beautiful, unnamed Himalayan cat wakes up a woman named Pepe with howls that can be heard throughout the house. After Pepe shushes the feline, the two snooze a bit together—but then the hungry meows start up again. Young siblings Pam and Andy wait in bed as Pepe, their mother, goes downstairs to feed their pet, who keeps making noise all the way. After breakfast, the Himalayan runs outside the house, known as Worthwyle, apparently to explore the neighborhood—and it soon gets lost. Pepe’s neighbor Sam helps in the search for the cat and soon returns it, much to the delight of the praying family. Everyone agrees that what makes Worthwyle so wonderful are its residents’ “thoughtfulness and love / virtues to practice all of life / for you and me.” The subject of DeFina’s brief book—a family pet who escapes but returns—offers a relatable, reassuring scenario for youngsters, and it’s underscored by a final image that shows the big hearts of the family members. However, the prose is often awkward, and it employs no consistent rhyme scheme. Sometimes it uses quatrains in an ABCB pattern, or it uses another scheme entirely, such as AAABCB. It also employs lines of variable length to facilitate rhymes (“Pepe puts on her robe and slippers / and steps down the stair / for to keep the Himalayan howling / would not be fair”) or introduces an element seemingly for rhyme’s sake, such as a hen to rhyme with “open.” The illustrations are colorful but often have a flat, generic quality, and their lack of diversity—all four humans appear white with light-brown hair—may disappoint some parents.

A clumsily executed tale, although its happy ending will have some appeal.

Pub Date: May 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5245-0185-3

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2017

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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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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