A comforting book about a cat, likely to appeal to the very young.

ONE CAT, HAPPY CAT!

Author-illustrator Lee (Pop! Pop! Bam! Bam!, 2013) follows one cat through his lonely life until his owner arrives in this repetitious picture book for the very young.

A playful gray cat goes through a series of emotions and actions over the course of his day. He hides behind a fire hydrant waiting to pounce on a mouse, showing that he’s hungry. He hides beneath a dresser, expressing fear. An image of an empty chair reveals why the cat is sad. By bathing, drinking and taking a nap, the cat manages to pass the time until, at last, he’s happy in his owner’s arms. The simplistic illustrations aren’t always fully colored, but they’re kid-friendly nonetheless. Some illustrations are stronger than others; the hiding cat looks more anti-social than afraid, and the dressed-up cat (to express the concept of “fancy”) has a strangely shaped face compared to other pictures. But the image of him crawling through a yoga mat (to be “sneaky”) is a perfect representation of how felines can find the oddest places to squish themselves and amuse their owners. Some words may be challenging for newly independent readers but will be great for sounding out with parents (such as “mischievous”); others are excellent examples of action words (“slurping”). The repeated phrase “one cat,” which begins every page, will comfort independent readers by providing a recognizable phrase on each page and encourage lap readers to chime in. The opening synopsis suggests a deeper back story (the cat was a starving stray, and that’s why it begins the story hungry and afraid), but this never quite comes through in the pictures. Instead, young readers will latch onto the emotions, recognizing that they also sometimes feel lonely or afraid or silly.

A comforting book about a cat, likely to appeal to the very young.

Pub Date: March 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1495952760

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2014

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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