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MRS. MARLOWE’S MICE

Following on the tail of Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse (2004), this father-son team spins another cat-and-mouse gambit set in Edwardian times. When Mrs. Eleanor Marlowe (a quite refined cat) returns home from her job at the Purrington Street Library one day, her busybody neighbor invites her to tea and tuna tarts but complains that her invitation is never returned. Mrs. Marlowe’s protest that she’s a dreadful housekeeper is just an excuse as her apartment is fastidiously clean and neat—due to the large family of mice that lives with her. When Lieutenant Manx and Sergeant Baxter from the Department of Catland Security show up at her door to investigate a neighbor’s complaint that she’s a mouse-keeper, Mrs. Marlowe has to think quickly to cover up any telltale tracks and foil the law. The ending, though a bit abrupt with Mrs. Marlowe reading a story to the mice, leaves the door open for more tales. The captivating, vintage-looking artwork, rendered in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter, assimilates unusual perspectives to add to the intrigue with details that enhance the narrative puns with visual ones. Not quite as charmingly macabre as their first book but entertaining nonetheless. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-55453-022-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2007

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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