THE BEST CAT SUIT OF ALL

Cassedy was notable for her dark, complex novels about lonely children, of which Lucie Babbidge's House (1989) was the last; in this book for beginning readers, she uses language with the same care to create a character of unusual subtlety for this level. It's Halloween, and the narrator is not only lamenting the friend, climate, and treats he had ``back where I used to live,'' but he's sick and can't go out. Nothing suits, especially the costumes of the other children, lovingly improvised by Hoffman, until one last pair of trick-or-treaters shows up: a witch who explains ``We're not together'' as she leaves the real black cat who arrived with her behind to come in and share a cozy fire. A warm, perceptive story for Halloween or any other time; the creatively designed illustrations perfectly reflect the emotions suggested in the text. (Easy reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8037-0516-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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THE HALLO-WIENER

Oscar (last name: Myers) is a sweet, sensitive dachshund who is troubled by his unique appearance (``half-a-dog tall and one- and-a-half dogs long''). He looks like a hot dog and his friends never let him forget it, until Oscar's unusual physique saves the day. Raising this story above clichÇ and bringing it poignancy is Oscar's goodness, which shines almost perpetually. When his mother makes a Halloween costume in the shape of a frankfurter, he bravely wears it even though he knows it means ridicule. He doesn't give up on his friends; in fact, this nice guy finishes first. In paintings steeped in autumn colors, puns abound and so do loony visual jokes, but the telling is simple, comical, and fast. Pilkey (Kat Kong, 1993, etc.) demonstrates his kinship to both Rosemary Wells and James Marshall with a book that has moments of high comedy, lowbrow humor, and good old-fashioned heroics. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-590-41703-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

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