THE RETURN OF THE KILLER CAT

When his family leaves on vacation, Tuffy, the feline of the title, finds himself left with the Vicar. Tuffy’s quite annoyed by the Vicar’s insistence that all of yesterday’s food be finished before more is set out, so he sneaks out to forage with his chums. When the Vicar gives chase, Tuffy climbs a tree and gets stuck. The Vicar’s overzealous attempts to get Tuffy down result in a short flight over the hedge. Tuffy drops into the doll bassinet of young Melanie who’d been praying for a cat. Thinking Tuffy’s the answer to her prayers, she names him Janet, dresses him in doll jammies and feeds him cream and tuna. When his chums taunt him about his increased girth, the resulting cat fight shreds the jammies. Melanie thinks Tuffy has eaten her poor Janet. Just in time, Tuffy’s family returns, saving him from the Vicar’s ire. Cox’s drawings are again an asset to this wry and dry early chapter book, a sequel to Diary of a Killer Cat (2006). Some Briticisms might need explaining, but Tuffy’s gently snarky, self-centered narration will easily win him new fans. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 12, 2007

ISBN: 0-374-36248-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

ACOUSTIC ROOSTER AND HIS BARNYARD BAND

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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