MAYA AND THE LOST CAT

Girl meets cat. Girl loses cat. Girl meets kitten.

When Maya spies a sodden, gray cat sitting on a rooftop in the rain outside her bedroom window, she tries to lure it inside. Cat ignores her efforts until she leaves an open sardine can (described as “a boatful of fish with a tiny tin sail”) outside her door. That does the trick! Cat gobbles up the fish, and then Maya goes out into her neighborhood to try to find the lost feline’s home, Cat trailing along behind her through the rainy night. There’s no mention of Maya’s family back at home, which lends a fantastic air to the storytelling that’s reinforced by the sonorous text. Magerl’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations bear a striking resemblance to Quentin Blake’s or Charlotte Voake’s art, with their loose lines and whimsical sensibility. But some are a bit hard to read, and readers might find themselves squinting through the busy lines to decode the action. Maya finally finds Cat’s owners on a houseboat, and their joyful reunion is bittersweet for the girl, who’s grown fond of Cat. But then Cat gives Maya “a small and cloudy gray bundle.” The little kitten, named Moby, is prone to seasickness. Maya, who presents white, happily brings Moby home to snuggle “in the waves and folds of [her] blankets.”

A cozy, quirky read. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0423-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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