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Curl Up With A Cat

Reviewer Ronna Mandel’s face lit up after reading Up Cat by Hazel Hutchins with art by Fanny.

I love animals. All things cat, dog, bear and bunny interest me so naturally I gravitated towards Up Cat ($6.95, Annick Press/Firefly Books, ages 2-5) when it arrived at my doorstep earlier this year.

This charming board book, and its companion, Up Dog, are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers ready to learn new words and grasp new expressions. From the onset, little ones will be in for a treat when they meet the darling little gray feline and follow just what he gets UP to during the day. Whether it’s watching him wake up, hearing him speak up, seeing him tear and rip up, and make a pretty big mess, the activity never ends. Nor will the giggles.

The artwork is bright and cheerful. Fanny’s style is simple yet says so much that children will absolutely adore the cat and all his antics, naughty or not.  I’m betting there’ll be some serious snuggle time after a read through and like kitty, you might just want to “cover up, curl up and soak up the sun.”

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Welcome to Ladybug Lane

Krista Jefferies reviews The House at the End of Ladybug Lane 

I don’t know a child who has not asked, if not begged, his or her parents for a pet.  Some parents would be fine with having a pet in the house, but not the obsessively neat parents of Angelina Neatolini in Elise Primavera’s The House at the End of Ladybug Lane ($16.99, Robin Corey Books, ages 4 and up).  While Angelina’s parents are known for “vacuuming the grass” and “polishing the flowers,” Angelina is quite the opposite with her naturally untidy ways. Although her parents refuse to give her a pet, Angelina still begs for one and even wishes for one as she gazes at the stars that, to her, look like animal constellations.  Her plea is answered as a magical ladybug appears on Angelina’s windowsill to grant the little girl her wish. However, the ladybug mishears Angelina and instead of giving her a pet, she conjures up a pest, who makes a mess of the house while creating delicious culinary treats. Every request Angelina makes is misinterpreted as something else. Illustrations by Valeria Docampo help tell the tale with large, detailed images that pull readers into the story as every creature that enters the house turns it upside. This quirky, hard-of-hearing ladybug is a mix of Cinderella’s fairy godmother and the Cat in the Hat, and the mishaps that result are troublesome but tickling. The story does culminate in a happy ending for Angelina, in which her parents accept her for who she is—a good lesson for parents as well as kids.  This is a fun read for any child, just be ready for them to ask for a pet afterward!

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When a Pet Dies

Today Debbie Glade reviews a very important book about grieving when losing a pet.

Young or old, no matter what your age, nothing can really prepare you for the death of a pet. Good-Bye Jeepers: What to Expect When Your Pet Dies ($18.99, Capstone, Reading Level 2-3) by Nancy Loewen is ideal in helping parents explain the death of a pet to their children. Good-Bye Jeepers is a story about a boy (panda bear) who one day discovers his pet guinea pig, Jeepers, is rolled up into a ball in his cage, unresponsive. His parents explain to him what he already knows – that Jeepers has died. The story goes into the activities and feelings the boy experiences the day his pet passes away. Small boxes at the bottom of some of the pages gently explain to the reader the many different emotions that are a perfectly normal part of the grieving process. The simple, colorful illustrations by Christopher Lyles are a nice addition to the story. Losing a pet is such an important and sensitive subject, and I’m so glad there is a book like this to help a child get through it.

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