CLARENCE THE COPY CAT

A mouse-loving, pacifist cat? A public library? What do these have in common? They’re the main ingredients of the plot in this rollicking story about Clarence, who’s banished from a sandwich shop because of his refusal to hurt any living creature—including those of the rodent persuasion. Sad and alone, the feline finally finds refuge in a “strange place [where] [h]undreds of books lined the walls of a big room.” Like so many others, Clarence finds solace and a comfortable home in the library (the illustrations depict the Oakland Branch of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library), especially because there’s not a mouse in sight. Soon Clarence comes to be known by his rescuer, the friendly librarian Mr. Spanner (wonderful—an older man, no less, who conducts story times), as Clarence Copy Cat because of the furry one’s penchant for sitting atop the photocopier. Life’s very good . . . until a guess-what makes an appearance through a hole under the copy machine. As usual, Clarence refuses to take part in any mouse-chasing or -catching scheme. Attempting to think of ploys to get the mouse without having to resort to distasteful violence, Clarence finally—and literally—hits upon a method of permanently banishing the creature, thanks to the copy machine. Young readers and listeners will find this a humorous and satisfying solution to the problem. If only all mouse eradications could be accomplished in so simple and amusing a way. Librarians take note: Young customers—those in branches with or without mice—will find much to smile about here, and Manders’s goofy, cartoony illustrations are filled with energy and child appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-32747-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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