BAD KITTY VS. UNCLE MURRAY

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series , Vol. 3

Waking from a dream of Pussycat Paradise, Bad Kitty learns her humans are going on a trip. Of course, they’ll bring her a surprise on their return. In the meantime, Uncle Murray will stay with Bad Kitty and Puppy. Puppy droolingly snuggles up to Uncle Murray, but in Bad Kitty’s overactive imagination Uncle Murray is a cat-eating ogre. She tries hiding from him, but he “finds her” every time (and she scares the bejesus out of him each time she spazzes). Bad Kitty finally escapes for a chase around the neighborhood. When it ends back at home, Uncle Murray’s had enough! Détente is achieved, and as usual Bad Kitty’s surprise on her people’s return is anything but a reward. Bruel’s third chapter-book–length Bad Kitty tale includes more pussycat hijinks and googly-eyed kitty freak-outs. Uncle Murray’s questions about cat fears are answered with actual facts, and a list of phobias follows in an appendix. A few lapses in the frenetic pace won’t keep fans from enjoying this and looking forward to the promised sequel. (Graphic hybrid fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-596-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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