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NAUGHTY CHÉRIE! by Joyce Carol Oates


by Joyce Carol Oates & illustrated by Mark Graham

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-074358-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

Continuing one of the more unfortunate pairings in modern picture books, Oates and Graham re-team for a third kitten-centered tale. Little Chérie’s the prettiest of Momma Cat’s kittens and Evan’s favorite, but she causes the most trouble. When her owner sits Little Chérie in a corner for being bad, the grey tabby escapes to “Little Friends Kindercare” a circus big top of baby zoo animals whose naughtiness teaches Little Chérie to be good. Knowing Oates’s award-winning work for older audiences, readers might interpret the precious prose and overreliance on exclamation points to be an avant garde literary experiment. Would that it were. Graham’s somber, sentimental art works against the sugary, upbeat text. Little Chérie walks into the Kindercare and thinks, “What a strange, happy place!” The full-bleed, two-page spread shows small, realistically rendered animals in a soft blue-and-grey open space with five tiny balloons. Even lovers of the sweet-kitten genre will be better served with an extra copy of Jane Cabrera’s Kitty’s Cuddles (April 2007). (Picture book. 3-6)