Crimi (Don’t Need Friends, not reviewed, etc.) and Carrington (Sometimes I Feel Like a Stormcloud, not reviewed, etc.) team up for a humorous tale of a tap-dancing mouse and a singing cat who are more interested in their particular talents than in the traditional game of cat-and-mouse. Tessa the mouse is warned by her mother to stop tapping and twirling and to start scurrying quietly like a proper mouse. Oscar the cat is warned by his owner, Mrs. Trimboni, to start chasing the mice and to stop “crooning or caterwauling” because he bothers the neighbors. Both creatures go on with the show in another stay-true-to-yourself story that ends in a toe-tapping jam-fest with the mouse family, the cat, and Mrs. Trimboni all singing and kicking up their heels. Crimi uses expressive, rollicking language to describe the dancing and singing: “the skitter-scamper of little mice feet,” “a rowdy, riotous tune,” and “an all-out rock-’n’-roll, boogie-woogie, hip-hop, two-step combo.” Carrington’s large, crayon-bright paintings with varying perspectives are complemented by an oversized format with lots of double-page spreads. She has a flair for the hilarious touch, such as Tessa’s bottle-cap tap shoes and Oscar’s broomstick microphone. Although the storyline isn’t exceptional, this will fit well into lots of thematic story hours (mice, cats, dancing, singing, or follow-your-heart). (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-31768-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002



Mr. Brown can’t help with farm chores because his shoes are missing—a common occurrence in his household and likely in many readers’ as well.

Children will be delighted that the titular Mr. Brown is in fact a child. After Mr. Brown looks in his closet and sorts through his other family members’ shoes with no luck, his father and his siblings help him search the farm. Eventually—after colorful pages that enable readers to spot footwear hiding—the family gives up on their hunt, and Mr. Brown asks to be carried around for the chores. He rides on his father’s shoulders as Papa gets his work done, as seen on a double-page spread of vignettes. The resolution is more of a lesson for the adult readers than for children, a saccharine moment where father and son express their joy that the missing shoes gave them the opportunity for togetherness—with advice for other parents to appreciate those fleeting moments themselves. Though the art is bright and cheerful, taking advantage of the setting, it occasionally is misaligned with the text (for example, the text states that Mr. Brown is wearing his favorite green shirt while the illustration is of a shirt with wide stripes of white and teal blue, which could confuse readers at the point where they’re trying to figure out which family member is Mr. Brown). The family is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Pedestrian. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5460-0389-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022


From the Max & Ruby series

In the siblings' latest adventure, their grandmother is having a birthday (again! see Bunny Cakes, p. 67), so Ruby takes Max shopping. A music box with skating ballerinas is Ruby's idea of the perfect present; Max favors a set of plastic vampire teeth. Ruby's $15 goes fast, and somehow, most of it is spent on Max. The music box of Ruby's dreams costs $100, so she settles for musical earrings instead. There isn't even a dollar left for the bus, so Max digs out his lucky quarter and phones Grandma, who drives them home—happily wearing her new earrings and vampire teeth. As ever, Wells's sympathies are with the underdog: Max, in one-word sentences, out-maneuvers his officious sister once again. Most six- year-olds will be able to do the mental subtraction necessary to keep track of Ruby's money, and Wells helps by illustrating the wallet and its dwindling contents at the bottom of each page where a transaction occurs. Younger children may need to follow the author's suggestion and have an adult photocopy the ``bunny money'' on the endpapers, so they can count it out. Either way, the book is a great adjunct to primary-grade math lessons. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-2146-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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