A charming tale about friendship with a special appeal for feline lovers.


A neighborhood market’s cat makes a new friend in this debut picture book.

Barry is an urban feline living in a bodega, a small store selling groceries and other necessities. He spends all day in or near the bodega; he especially enjoys playing with the bags of sunflower seeds and napping. But somewhat battered in appearance—“skinny, missing part of his ear, and his whiskers do not curl”—Barry is ignored by other cats in the neighborhood and lonely. Although he loves his human, Papi, Barry wishes he had a feline friend. One day, a blue cat named Henry returns Barry’s friendly wave and the two enjoy frolicking outside and inside the bodega. Henry’s human parents are alarmed to discover him there and at first forbid him from coming back. But Papi welcomes Henry to the bodega anytime, and they change their minds. Now, Henry is Barry’s best friend. In her book, Salad skillfully captures the life of a bodega cat. For example, a favorite pastime for Barry is knocking empty coffee cups off the counter. The desire for a friend is something children can understand, as is Barry’s pleasure in finding a pal at last. The illustrations nicely convey the cats’ humor (knocking over paper towels) and sweetness (napping together on stacks of bread). But not every cat owner would feel safe or responsible in allowing an indoor-only pet to navigate city sidewalks.

A charming tale about friendship with a special appeal for feline lovers.

Pub Date: March 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4808-5785-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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