FAT CAT

A DANISH FOLKTALE

Bright-color folk illustrations add zest and bounce to this tale told in many countries. Mouse, who lives with cat, is always busy cooking or sewing. This day, she makes 35 pies and the cat swallows them up, declaring, “I may be FAT, but I’m still a HUNGRY CAT!” Out the door he goes, saying, “Oh, I’m meow, meow FAT! ’Cause I’m a HUNGRY, HUNGRY CAT!” He meets in succession a washerwoman with her washtub, a company of soldiers brandishing swords, and a King on an elephant. Each of them exclaims “My, CAT! You sure are FAT!” to which the cat replies, “I may be FAT but I’m still a HUNGRY CAT!” and SLIP SLOP SLUURP! Cat swallows them down. “BURP!” When he arrives home, he eats his friend, the mouse, who happens to be sewing. She snips her way to freedom and orders, “Everybody OUT!” Because they are friends, she spends the day sewing up Cat’s tummy. “Oh, I’m meow meow FLAT! ’Cause I’m an EMPTY EMPTY CAT!” says the cat. The tale ends: “And now, whenever folks meet Cat they are careful to speak with respect.” The story will be a favorite read aloud and simply demands that listeners shout along. Plenty of white space sets off the pictures and heightens the art. There are, indeed, 35 pies depicted on a double page spread and the green-vested golden cat becomes satisfyingly huge as he swallows each person with their accoutrements. As expected from this scholarly storyteller (The Storyteller’s Sourcebook, etc.) there is a note identifying the motif of the tale and citing other variants. (Folktale. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-87483-616-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: August House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2001

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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