GOODBYE MOG

Readers who remember Mog from Kerr’s long popular and recently reissued Mog the Forgetful Cat will be both happy and sad to see this final episode in the long series by the British author/illustrator. As the title, cover art (Mog floating in a starry sky), and opening sentences (“Mog was tired. She was dead tired . . . I want to sleep for ever”) not too subtly foreshadow, Mog is ready to die. Being a curious cat, a part of her “stayed awake” to see what would happen in the Thomas house. After a period of mourning, Mrs. Thomas brings home a kitten that has a hard time adjusting. Afraid of newspaper, noise, and being held, it is most comfortable hiding under the couch. It’s a good thing that Mog is still keeping an eye on things. After a brief jealous period, she takes heart (“I knew they’d never manage without me. I’m going in”) and models proper behavior for the kitten, including jumping, hiding under newspapers, and playing with bags. Mog also pushes the still-shy kitten into Debbie Thomas’s arms for some petting, which it discovers it likes. Finally, Rumpus is ready to become the new family pet. Debbie Thomas notes, “I’ll always remember Mog,” and the never-humble Mog leaves this earth thinking, “So I should hope.” Now Mog is able to take the last part of her journey, as “she flew up and up and up and up right into the sun.” Although Mog’s slightly ghost-like celestial presence is easily spotted in each picture and each family member does weep following Mog’s death, there is nothing scary or overwhelmingly morose here. Kerr’s understated humor and cheery, cartoon-like illustrations make the mood more sweet than sentimental or frightening. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2003

ISBN: 0-00-714968-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins UK/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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POPPLETON

The first book in a proposed series of easy readers from the usually reliable Rylant (The Bookshop Dog, p. 1055) is an unqualified flop. Poppleton, dressed in coat, tie, and bowler, tires of city life and moves to a small town. Three stories follow that require neither a small-town setting nor a recent move. In the first, ``Neighbors,'' the limits of friendship are excessively defined when Cherry Sue invites Poppleton over too often, and he sprays her with the garden hose (instead of simply turning down the invitation) in his frustration over the situation. ``The Library'' shows how serious Poppleton is about his library day- -every Monday—as he sits at a table, spreads out his belongings, and reads an adventure. In ``The Pill,'' a sick friend who needs medicine asks Poppleton to disguise his pill in one of the many pieces of cake he consumes, recalling the tale in which Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad try to make some cookies inaccessible, but cannot thwart their own appetites. The stories are unimaginative and poorly plotted, without the taut language and endearing humor of Rylant's Henry and Mudge tales or her Mr. Putter and Tabby books. Teague's scenes of a small town are charming but have no real story in which to take root, and the book is printed on cardboard-weight stock that all but overwhelms the format. (Fiction. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-84782-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1996

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