CATS, CATS, CATS!

A celebration of all things feline, this frisky, rib-tickling picture book unveils the secret life of cats. In jaunty rhyming couplets, the author spins a tale about the elderly Mrs. Brown, who lives in a house full of cats—60 of them to be exact. Like all tabbies, Mrs. Brown’s darlings laze the days away, snoozing in every manner and every corner. From sunup to sundown, Mrs. Brown is surrounded by dormant felines. Yet when she retires for the evening, the languid cats spring to life. “As soon as she began to snore / The fun began with cats galore / Cats in the entryway throwing confetti / Cats in the dining room eating spaghetti.” While Mrs. Brown peacefully dozes, her cats have a boisterous bash. Kids and catlovers alike will be tickled pink by Newman’s comical depiction of the cats disporting themselves in a very human manner: knitting, writing, cooking, and even dancing. Oller’s watercolors, ranging in size from full-bleed to smaller vignettes delightfully inserted within the text, compliment the tale, reflecting the essence of cathood. Amorphously drawn creatures colored in a palette of soft hues lie prostrate upon every surface, conveying the unique boneless quality of slumbering felines. The upbeat tempo of the rhymes and the humor are infectious, and even those usually uninspired by felines will be hard-pressed to resist Newman’s convivial bunch. A whimsical tale perfect for cat fanciers young and old. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83077-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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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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