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CARAMBA AND HENRY by Marie-Louise Gay Kirkus Star


by Marie-Louise Gay, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55498-097-0
Publisher: Groundwood

Little brothers can be soooo bothersome.

Kitten Caramba had wished for a brother for a long time, but not one like Henry. Henry squishes Caramba's favorite caterpillars, throws his cheese omelets out the window and screams all the time. Caramba's best friend, a pig named Portia, suggests that Caramba teach Henry how to purr, but Caramba rejects this plan; only contended cats purr. And then Henry starts flying! Caramba wanted to teach him to swim, but why would he want to swim when he can fly? As Henry is flying all around, mother puts Caramba in charge. Henry keeps getting tangled in clotheslines and scarves and suchlike. Neither butterfly net nor shopping bag is a good carrier. Then Caramba gets a brilliant idea (even Portia thinks so): She pulls Henry along like a balloon. This works well, until Henry wriggles free and flies away. Caramba and Portia search into the dark night and find him clinging to a small branch at the top of a tall tree. Caramba talks him down, and Henry utters his very first word: "Car-r-r-amba." Gay puts many delightful quirks into a highly recognizable tale of sibling rivalry, and her singular illustrations—a delicate mix of watercolor, pencil, pastels and acrylics—are unique and captivating. Her matter-of-fact text charms: "He whirled his tail like a tiny egg beater."

A gem. (Picture book. 3-7)