It's an idea to capture a child's fancy, and touch a cat-lover's heart—with a measured, word-wise text satisfying to...

THE CAT'S PURR

Or, why cats eat rats—quietly and effectively adapted from a West Indian folk tale by an accomplished compiler/illustrator (The Ox of the Wonderful Horns, Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum).

This is a smallish volume (5 3/4 x 7 3/8), with russet crayon drawings of a droll dignity that itself compels attention. We first see Cat and Mouse as big and little trousered workmates, and "the best of friends." ("Uh-huh, uh-huh, they really were!") But Mouse is given to copying Cat, and when Cat's old uncle presents him with a tiny cat drum, "passed down in the family," Mouse is disgruntled at hearing he can't play it. ("I made my hut like yours, squeak, squee-eee. I played in the shade of your coconut tree. . .") So he devises a scheme to get hold of the drum—first stuffing himself with food, then feigning sickness when it's time to to out and work. But Cat, hoeing, hears the drum's purrum, purrum, purrum (a sound that, neatly, grows louder the more lightly the drum is stoked) and he eventually catches Rat out. That wily fellow saves himself by plunging the drum into Cat's open mouth—and, we're told, it has lodged safely in Cat's stomach ever since. "If you're kind to Cat," Bryan concludes—with a fetching drawing of a little boy and a big house-cat—"he'll let you play his drum. Remember, though, don't tap it or beat it, don't rap it or poke it. Just stroke Cat gently, very, very gently. Uh-huh, uh-huh!"

It's an idea to capture a child's fancy, and touch a cat-lover's heart—with a measured, word-wise text satisfying to read or read aloud. (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 12, 1985

ISBN: 002179510X

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1985

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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