This perfect poetical paean to pussycats makes both a fine gift for a cat lover and an excellent haiku handbook.

THE MAINE COON'S HAIKU

AND OTHER POEMS FOR CAT LOVERS

A kitty companion to The Cuckoo’s Haiku (2009) and The Hound Dog’s Haiku (2011).

Rosen presents one perfect haiku—five-seven-five with a burst of insight—each on 20 different cat breeds. The poems are split into sections called “Inside,” followed by “Outside,” then “Inside” and finally “Outside,” a pattern any human owned by a cat will recognize. The Zen of the “Abyssinian” is emblematic of the whole collection: “curled up on your book / cat won’t care what happens next / now’s the only page.” Each poem is paired with a beautiful, digitally created full-color illustration by White that sometimes is content to illustrate the poem and other times makes its image more clear, as with “Bombay”: “paired shadows prowling / in nightfall, but just two lights / pierce that darkness.” The double-page spread shows a black cat and its shadow on a dark cityscape in grays and aqua; the two yellow eyes gleam. Though it looks like there are two cats, the shadow, of course, has no eyes. Backmatter includes a few short paragraphs of information on each breed, ranging from historical to behavioral. Norwegian forest cats love to be handled, for example, and the Scottish fold originates from a single progenitor, born in 1961.

This perfect poetical paean to pussycats makes both a fine gift for a cat lover and an excellent haiku handbook. (Picture book/poetry. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6492-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph.

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WISHTREE

Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all.

Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar’s longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar’s family’s presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant story with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students.

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-04322-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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