09 April 2008

Bedtime Stories

Peanut by Linus Alsenas
A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann
Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard, illus.

Some very sweet stories this evening. Peanut, in which a little old lady mistakes an elephant for a puppy reminded me of My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World, where it's not clear to the reader whether the protagonist is aware of their mistake, or simply choosing not to notice. And of course, an elephant is involved in both. "Kitten", where three kittens who have never seen snow worry about their first snowfall, while a fourth kitten blissfully anticipates it, made me think of Kevin Henke's Wemberley Worried. "Kitten" has received a lot of positive press, and it is all deserved. The simplicity, yet effectiveness, of the message is breathtaking. And the kittens are adorable.

Mr. Putter and Tabby are favorites here, even more so now that my daughter can read them herself. The mellow pace of the stories, the leisurely line of the illustrations, and the vocabulary which challenges without intimidating, make this a wonderful series for emerging readers. If Henry and Mudge, also by Cynthia Rylant, have been exhausted, check out Mr. Putter and Tabby instead.

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