A winsome story despite its flaws, this will leave readers hoping that Potter left more unpublished gems in the vault where...

Miss Catherine St. Quintin is a mischievous kitty leading a secret double life in this recently discovered Potter tale.

Though her elderly owner thinks that she is a “serious, well behaved young black cat,” Catherine—who harbors a secret passion for air-rifle hunting while dressed in a gentleman’s Norfolk jacket and matching boots—is anything but. The rebellious (if well-bred) pet prefers palling around with common cats to presiding over tea parties with other respectable felines. After convincing a fellow cat to impersonate her, she sets out on a poaching expedition that goes awry and teaches her the value of home. While the fairly lengthy story itself, with its minx of a heroine and cameos from other well-established characters, contains the same magic that made generations of readers fall in love with Potter’s delightful animal creations, Blake’s scribbly illustrations are totally incongruous with her genteel fictional world. His style works beautifully with Roald Dahl’s madcap tales, but Potter’s refined characters merit a softer and more realistic illustrative touch. Readers who grew up enchanted by the gorgeous drawings in the Tale of Peter the Rabbit may wish that Blake had passed on this particular opportunity. Also jarring is the book’s large trim; at around 8 inches by 10 inches, it is almost twice as big as Potter’s books published in her lifetime, famously designed for “little hands.” A CD of Helen Mirren reading the text is packaged with the book.

A winsome story despite its flaws, this will leave readers hoping that Potter left more unpublished gems in the vault where it was discovered. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-241-24944-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Warne

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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