MR. PERSNICKETY AND CAT LADY

Mr. Persnickety and Cat Lady are neighbors but not, unfortunately, the best of friends in this mildly amusing, although decidedly mean-spirited story about feuding neighbors. Mr. Persnickety is a fussbudget who likes everything just so, while Cat Lady revels in the chaos that owning 37 cats brings. But Mr. Persnickety hates cats, especially Cat Lady’s brood, and he complains bitterly about them. Not content to merely dislike each other, the neighbors wage a war against the other. Mr. Persnickety splashes water on Cat Lady and blares a tape of barking dogs at her. Cat Lady retaliates by blasting disco music at Mr. Persnickety in an effort to drive him crazy, and meanest of all, sneaks mice into his house, which is soon overrun by the annoying creatures. None of the conventional mice-ridding methods that Mr. Persnickety employs work, so he is finally forced to swallow his pride and ask Cat Lady for help. The 37 cats come over, clear out the mice, and from that day forward Mr. Persnickety and Cat Lady are model neighbors. While the illustrations, painted in acrylics, are cute and funny and will certainly appeal to children, this is not a portrait of grownups at their best. Each of the human characters acts petty, immature, and inconsiderate, and the behavior is tacitly condoned by the fact that it all works out well in the end. Not a great conflict-resolution model for the kids. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-531-30283-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to...

PUMPKIN COUNTDOWN

A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20.

At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub’s text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child’s name within the line: “ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ. / ‘But someone’s late,’ says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!’ calls Kiri.” Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch—“Guess sixteen things we’ll see,” count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus—but Smith’s artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count—a sign marks “15 Pumpkin Street.” Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text.

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches...

TRASHY TOWN

Listeners will quickly take up the percussive chorus—“Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO”—as they follow burly Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, on his rounds from park to pizza parlor and beyond.

Flinging cans and baskets around with ease, Mr. Gilly dances happily through streetscapes depicted with loud colors and large, blocky shapes; after a climactic visit to the dump, he roars home for a sudsy bath.

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches Eve Merriam’s Bam Bam Bam (1995), also illustrated by Yaccarino, for sheer verbal and visual volume. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027139-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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