Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot the Horn

Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot The Horn. (Mr. Putter & Tabby #7) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 1998. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, were neighbors to Mrs. Teaberry and her good dog, Zeke. Mrs. Teaberry and Mr. Putter had a lot in common. They both liked bingo. They both liked free samples. They both liked rain. And they both liked music.

Premise/plot: One day Mrs. Teaberry decides that they both need to join a band. Her reasoning is simple: "Old people can do anything they want." He tries to get out of it by countering with this argument: "Can they say they can't play an instrument?!" She shuts him down--fast. Try, he must. This chapter book is about them both trying something new.

My thoughts: I loved this one. It was a super-fun addition to the series. Mr. Putter is NOT a good tooter. And that is okay. He tried--and that is something worth celebrating with a treat. The writing continues to delight me. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs:
Mrs. Teaberry liked country music the best. She liked the broken hearts. She liked the big silver boots and the tall hair. Mr. Putter liked opera. He also liked broken hearts. And he liked the big round heroes and the violins. Some days Mrs. Teaberry would play her country music very loud for Mr. Putter to hear. Some days Mr. Putter would play his opera very loud for Mrs. Teaberry to hear. They liked sharing. 
© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Inspector Brunswick: The Case of the Missing Eyebrow

Inspector Brunswick: Case of the Missing Eyebrow. Angela Keoghan. Illustrated by Chris Sam Lam. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: After a long week of solving cases, Inspector Brunswick, the world's greatest cat detective, and his loyal assistant Nelson were taking a well-deserved break at the art museum.

Premise/plot: Inspector Brunswick is a cat detective; Nelson is the dog assistant or sidekick. These two find a mystery at the art museum. An eyebrow from one of the paintings is missing. Who could have taken it? And why?

My thoughts: I wanted to love this one because it stars a cat AND it is a mystery as well. Unfortunately, I didn't find myself loving it. Not every book has to be a love, of course. One fun thing I did enjoy about this one is that the works of art interact with the story. When the eyebrow goes missing, ALL the paintings react. One painting is of a mother and child: she's covering his eyes from the horror of it all.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, January 15, 2018

That Is My Dream!

That Is My Dream! Langston Hughes. Illustrated by Daniel Miyares. 2017. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: To fling my arms wide/ In some place of the sun,/ To whirl and to dance/ Till the white day is done./ Then rest at cool evening/ Beneath a tall tree/ While night comes on gently,/ Dark like me--That is my dream!

Premise/plot: That is My Dream is a picture book poem. The poem is Langston Hughes' Dream Variation which was originally published in 1926 in his first poetry collection. The illustrator has placed the poem within the context of the segregated south in the 1950s. The first half reflects the way things are/were--as seen from a young boy's perspective--and the second half reflects his dream: how he wants things to be.

My thoughts: That Is My Dream is a lovely picture book. (Last year I reviewed Langston Hughes' The Dream Keeper and Other Poems.) Hughes' poem is beautiful. The illustrations are absolutely stunning. I loved, loved, loved, LOVED the illustrations. Yes, the text is wonderful. But the illustrations convey just as much--if not a tiny bit more--than the text. Together they make for a compelling, thought-provoking read. I think it would pair well with Patricia McKissack's Goin' Someplace Special

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, January 12, 2018

Mr. Putter & Tabby Row the Boat

Mr. Putter and the Tabby Row the Boat. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #6) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 1997. HMH. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was summer and the weather was very hot. Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, lay around all day and sweated. They sweated on the front porch. They sweated in the kitchen. They sweated under the oak tree. They even tried the basement, but they sweated there, too.

Premise/plot: How can Mr. Putter and Tabby cool off on this hot summer day? The title reveals it all, doesn't it?! Mr. Putter decides to ask Mrs. Teaberry and Zeke (her dog) to go with him and Tabby to the big pond. Once there, they rent a row boat and their adventure begins. But will it work?

My thoughts: I am just loving this series. The narrative is great. Rylant does a great job--in terms of both characterization AND storytelling. There is nothing dull about this chapter book series. The illustrations by Howard are equally expressive. I love seeing Tabby's various expressions throughout the book!

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane

Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #5) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 1997. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: Mr. Putter loved toys. He was old, and he knew that he wasn't supposed to love toys anymore. But he did. When Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, drove into town, they always stopped at the toy store.

Premise/plot: Mr. Putter LOVES toys. Tabby doesn't love toys--especially toys that do something. But she loves Mr. Putter. This chapter book is about when Mr. Putter buys a radio control airplane.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I love Mr. Putter. I really love Tabby. My favorite part was when Mr. Putter decided to give away his new plane to a little boy--a shy boy, a clumsy boy--who reminded him of himself. The writing continues to impress.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Papillon Goes To The Vet

Papillon Goes to the Vet. A.N. Kang. 2017. Disney-Hyperion. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Papillon is a very fluffy cat. He can float like a cloud in the sky. He loves to play with his friend. They never tire of playing kung fu air kicks and yarn softball. But catch is their favorite game.

Premise/plot: One day--when Papillon and his bird friend are playing catch with a catnip mousie--something goes wrong. He swallows the mouse and gets a horrid case of hiccups. His owner, Miss Tilly, takes him to the vet where he has to stay overnight. Will Papillon ever feel like himself again?

My thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this one!!! Papillon is adorable as always. The illustrations are fantastic. And the story is both whimsical and realistic. Not every cat floats and plays catch in the air, but all cats can cough up something when they're feeling sick. In the hands of the right reader, the sound effects would be super-fun.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty

The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon. A.N. Kang. 2016. Disney-Hyperion. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Papillon is a big kitty. He is not fat. Just very fluffy. I mean FLUFFY! He is lighter than air, which can get him into trouble.

Premise/plot: Papillon is one FLUFFY cat. Miss Tilly, his owner, worries that he might FLOAT away. She is always coming up with a new way to weigh this kitten down and keep him grounded. But. Papillon isn't always receptive to her ideas. Can Miss Tilly and Papillon come to agreement on the situation? Papillon may change his mind once he gets lost....

My thoughts: This book is ADORABLE. I love, love, love the illustrations. The concept of the story is whimsical and delightful. This fluffy cat has a bigger adventure than he bargained for. Luckily, a new friend saves the day. I would recommend this one to cat lovers of all ages.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers