Leslea Newman is is the author of several picture books, including Matzo Ball Moon, illustrated by Elaine Greenstein and Too Far Away to Touch, illustrated by Catherine Stock. She is the recipient of a Highlights for Children fiction writing award and a Parents? Choice Silver Medal. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Visit Leslea at www.lesleakids.com.
In this exuberant picture book, Newman (Matzo Ball Moon) and Oller (Top Banana) offer an inspired explanation of why cats sleep all day. Mrs. Brown's house overflows with catsDand she prefers it that way. "She loved to fill her lap with them/ She loved to take a nap with them/ She loved to place them all just so/ And then embrace them row by row." Oller's watercolors, with their indistinct edges and softly blurred coloring, capture all the fuzzy charm of the capering kitties. All day long the fetching felines snooze and snore, but at night the fun begins, as they cut loose in a frisky frolic. "When Mrs. Brown was tucked in tight/ The cats would party every night." They bake, they knit, they dance and play ball, and oh, what a mess they make by morning. Fortunately, Mrs. Brown has the right attitude: "Oh fiddle dee dee!/ I love my cats and they love me." The rollicking rhymes give Oller plenty of leeway. The artist pictures cats draped over every conceivable surface, a cat weather vane on the roof and the amply proportioned Mrs. Brown with a lap piled so high with pets that only her sturdy legs are visible. This is a real find for cat fanciers and their furry companions, who will no doubt give it an enthusiastic "two paws up." Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
PreS-Gr 1-An elderly lady who lives all alone fills her house with "cats, cats, cats!" They sleep all day while she's up and about, but at night, it's a different story. "While Mrs. Brown was tucked in tight/The cats would party every night/They'd chase their tails, they'd cut a rug/They'd fox-trot and they'd jitterbug/-They'd whoop it up until the dawn/Those cats could really carry on." By morning, the felines are sound asleep and the house is in a shambles. Smiling, Mrs. Brown tucks them in and cleans up the mess, showing readers that despite all the nocturnal mischief, her love is unconditional. Told in a rambling singsong verse, this story gets off to a slow start. The first part is devoted to describing the woman's affection for her pets and her daily activities, and readers will have to make their way through half of the book before the critters actually wake up and do something. The soft watercolor pictures have pale colors and blurred edges. Like the writing, there's some potential but nothing dynamic or substantial enough to carry the book. As fluffy as the fluffiest cats in the Brown household, this story is for serious feline lovers only.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.