TOOTS THE CAT

This love letter to the poet’s cat celebrates with rueful affection the many different joys and annoyances of being owned by a pet. The small, intimate series of poems, marked by Kuskin’s signature wordplay, introduces readers to Toots, a stray who firmly adopts her family, with her many character quirks, some prototypically feline (“Did you ever spend an hour and forty-eight minutes / looking for a piece of paper / only to realize that / the piece of paper / you have been looking for / for an hour and forty-eight minutes / is underneath the cat?”), some entirely individual (she naps in the vines, “Wisterious”). Bechtold’s illustrations display their usual fluid humor, getting at the heart of the cat, in dignity (waving her magnificent tail in stately progress) and ridiculousness (yearningly clinging to a screen door). If some of the poems seem to celebrate any cat rather than the titular Toots, the collection nevertheless stands as an entirely sweet rumination on the joys of pet ownership and as such will find many happy and simpatico child readers. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-6841-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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TURKEY TROUBLE

From the Turkey Trouble series

Turkey’s in the “kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving...and you’re the main course.” Accordingly, Turkey tries on disguise after disguise, from horse to cow to pig to sheep, at each iteration being told that he looks nothing like the animal he’s trying to mimic (which is quite true, as Harper’s quirky watercolors make crystal clear). He desperately squeezes a red rubber glove onto his head to pass as a rooster, only to overhear the farmer suggest a poultry plan B when he’s unable to turn up the turkey. Turkey’s horrified expression as he stands among the peppers and tomatoes—in November? Chalk it up to artistic license—is priceless, but his surroundings give him an idea. Good fun, but it may lead to a vegetarian table or two. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5529-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2009

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