HOW MR. SILVER STOLE THE SHOW

Purr-fect fare for cat lovers, with a bit of sensitivity training slipped in.

An extreme case of kitty charisma, based on a true story.

With significant but logical embroidering, this tale recounts the arrival of a small alley cat at the elegant Hamilton Hotel, just as the 1947 Greater St. Louis Cat Club Show is getting underway. Though given a hostile reception by the stuck-up cat owners (if not their well-groomed pets), the tiny stray not only gets a warm greeting and plenty of snacks from the hotel staff, but comes back at the show’s end to charm the judges into awarding a pair of blue ribbons and to win both a name and a home from the hotel’s hostess, Marcella Duffy. As the author notes in an afterword, only the hotel staff would have included people of color at that time, and so it is that Duffy and all the human guests are white-presenting, while most of the bustling kitchen staff, led by a fictive chef and his daughter, are darker-skinned. Younger audiences may not notice the divide until it’s pointed out, but they’ll see it on a second run-through for sure, and the endpapers sandwiching this historical anecdote do offer a more racially diverse gallery of cat owners fondling their furry charges. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Purr-fect fare for cat lovers, with a bit of sensitivity training slipped in. (photo) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781250864765

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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