Young readers won’t need to know the story’s literary origins, they’ll just enjoy the romp of a conniving cat.

MACAVITY!

THE MYSTERY CAT

Here’s another rerun from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

“Macavity: The Mystery Cat” is perhaps one of the best-loved poems from the Eliot collection, and Robins has infused new life into the trickster cat. The comical, full- or double-page illustrations are as frisky as Macavity, often showing just his tail as he disappears off the page after one of his sly antics. The hand-lettered look of the text adds to the sprightliness of the scenes. The text’s rich vocabulary makes for some challenges. “Macavity, Macavity, / there’s no one like Macavity, / for he’s a fiend in feline shape, / a monster of depravity.” Here, the cat’s fiendishness is obvious, as he holds a frantic mouse by the tale as it desperately tries to escape; his “depravity” is indicated on the facing page, as he lures a passel of pigeons with dropped bread crumbs to an unspecified end. The timing of the publication is smart, celebrating the 75th-anniversary edition of the original book and a Broadway return of the musical Cats in July. Two other individual picture-book poems from the anthology are scheduled for later 2016 release: Mr.Mistoffelees and Skimbleshanks, also illustrated by Robins.

Young readers won’t need to know the story’s literary origins, they’ll just enjoy the romp of a conniving cat. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-571-31212-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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