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PUSS IN BOOTS by Philip Pullman Kirkus Star


The Adventures of That Most Enterprising Feline

by Philip Pullman & illustrated by Ian Beck

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-81354-3
Publisher: Knopf

With characters supplying punch lines and side commentary in Beck’s vigorously inked cartoon illustrations, Pullman briskly reworks Perrault’s tale of an orphaned miller’s son who, thanks to a quick-witted feline companion, sets a new standard for rapid upward mobility. Though several incidents drawn from other folktales have been interpolated, the cat still does most of the work, pulling strings behind the scenes to help young Jacques, posing as the Marquis of Carabas, to meet the King of France’s daughter, then to pass a pair (or a trio, according to the picture) of insomniac ghouls (“ ‘If we can’t sleep . . . we’ll take all your bones out through your nose and play pick-up-sticks with ’em . . . ’ ”) in order to rescue her from a wonderfully snaggle-toothed, coarse-featured ogre. The author sets his renowned gift for breathlessly paced storytelling at full throttle, and the result, at once briefer and broader than Fred Marcellino’s urbane version (1990), will leave younger audiences enthralled. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)