MRS. PEACHTREE AND THE EIGHTH AVENUE CAT

Even Mrs. Peachtree's name belies her gruff exterior, so it's no surprise when she and a persistent stray cat reach affectionate accommodation; but it is satisfying. The old lady's comments may be harsh (``Must that cat stare like a fool in love?''; ``Don't you try to butter me up, cat''; or, prophetically, ``You are not my shadow. And I am not your fish cake''). Still, each time he reappears after she's chased him away, she feeds him. A longer absence in bad weather makes her feelings clearer: `` `Call me fish cake,' '' she tells the purring cat when he returns, bumptiously spilling her tea, `` `And I'll call you Shadow.' '' The brisk, funny dialogue suits the story for reading alone or aloud. Beier's watercolors set the story in a turn-of-the-century city; deftly, she underlines Mrs. Peachtree's ambivalence through both facial expressions and body language. A worthy corollary to Wild/Vivas's The Very Best of Friends (1990); Segal/Zelinsky's The Story of Mrs. Lovewright and Purrless Her Cat (1985) would make a pungent contrast. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-02-782684-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

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Fans of Rathmann's Good Night, Gorilla (1994) will like this one, too.

OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA

The unexpected theme of this picture book featuring a policeman and his dog is jealousy over attention; it has definite child appeal.

Officer Buckle likes to share safety tips with children, but he is so boring he puts the audience to sleep. Then he takes along the police department's new dog, Gloria, to share the stage. She does tricks, such as jumping up with all her hair standing on end as he talks about avoiding electric shock, and Officer Buckle is a hit. He doesn't realize until later that his new popularity is based on Gloria's antics. He stops lecturing and sulks, relenting only when the children write to him to say that Gloria won't perform without him.The book is quite funny, thanks to Rathmann's frenetic cartoons. The text is very direct; Gloria's performances only show up in the pictures, and the contrast is hilarious. The idea of an adult's envying a dog is amusing, and the emotions portrayed will hit home with children.

Fans of Rathmann's Good Night, Gorilla (1994) will like this one, too. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-22616-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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