A to Z: U – Underwood, Deborah

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You know, when we get into these letters at the end of the alphabet, it gets harder to find books with those letters in the titles. So, we have to get a little creative!! Deborah Underwood is the author of the Here Comes — Cat books. I’m just sharing the Christmas one, but the rest are pictured at the end of the post!

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Here Comes Santa Cat 

Deborah Underwood
Pictures by Claudia Rueda
Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin, 2014 

From the dust jacket, “Ho, ho…who? Cat! Not again. the holidays are around the corner, and Cat knows what he has to do. But being nice…it doesn’t come naturally. Still, Christmas is a time of year for miracles and with a little luck, even Cat may find the holiday spirit—and a festive surprise of his own.”

Cat is one of LoC’s favorite recurring characters. I reviewed “Here Comes Easter Cat”, “Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat” , and “Here Comes Valentine Cat.” Love, love, love “Here Come … Cat” books! His expressions are priceless! In the illustrations below you’ll see what I mean. The book is written to be read aloud – at least that’s the way I read it – I like to read it to my fursiblings so they can laugh, too.

In this book, Cat dresses up as Santa so he can give himself a Christmas gift – he doesn’t quite understand the process of giving just yet. But he learns and gets a very special treat in the end! Maybe this would be a good book for some naughty kittens out there so they can learn to be nice!! No negatives on these pages. Just wonderful, fabulous, laugh-out-loud-funny Cat!!!!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!

Reviewer: simon-locSimon

 

Here are the other books – well worth the time to check out and laugh yourself silly!

 

 

 

A to Z: T – THE Grannyman

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There were other “T” books I could have used, but I really wanted to share with you this book! It’s by the author of the SkippyJon Jones Books!

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The Grannyman 

Judith Byron Schachner
Dutton’s Children’s Books, 1999 

From the dust jacket: “Simon was a very old cat. His family tried their best to take care of him. They kept him comfy in a baby carriage and neat at mealtime, but Simon felt useless. After such a full life, he wondered what an old cat was good for anyway.

“Just when Simon had decided it was all over for him, something soft and small came along to give him lots to do, lots to look forward to—and a brand-new name.

“In words and pictures filled with character, nuance, expression, and love, Judith Byron Schachner pays homage to one special, very old feline in a book for anyone who has lived with and loved a cat.”

My goodness –  a book with my namesake!!! Like me, this Simon is old but unlike me he is blind and deaf (although at the age of 15+ years, my eyesight is rather dim and I do forget where the food is!). Also like me, Simon is loved very much and his family puts up with his messiness, bad breath and crankiness. (Toby says I have bad breath, but he must not be able to smell his own!) This is a marvelous book that will remind the reader that just because we’re old doesn’t mean we are useless!!

We’ve added this book to our wish list because we love it so much. Read this book to your kittens, or just read it yourself; if you have ever loved a cat, you won’t be disappointed—you’ll be enchanted!!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because although it’s not laugh out-loud funny the way the author’s Skippyjon Jones books are, it is nonetheless both heartwarming and heartbreaking and full of those elusive warm, fuzzy feelings missing from so many books we read.

Reviewer: img_20180110_154218286593329294.jpgSimon

 

 

A to Z: S – SKIPPYJON JONES!!!!

We LOVE Skippyjon Jones!!! He is so funny – a Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a Chihuahua and has an imagination that is just beyond! Here’s the review for the first book, but I’ll only include the cover images for the others. Check them out of your library today!!

skippyjon

 Skippyjon  Jones

Judy Schachner
Dutton’s Children’s Books, 2003

This is a book about a Siamese kitten with a very vivid imagination!

Main character –

·         Skippyjon Jones aka Skippito Friskito, Mr. Kitten Britches, Mr. Fuzzy Pants, Mr. Fluffernutter, El Skippito, Mr. Cocopugs

Secondary characters –

·          Los Chimichangos,  a band of Chihuahuas, some of whom are: Don Diego, Poquito Tito, Pintolito, Rosalita and Tia Maria

·         Alfred Buzzito the El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito, the Los Chimi’s mortal enemy

That Skippyjon! He has such an imagination and he, like me when I was a kitten, gets into so much trouble. When his mom finds him sleeping with the baby birds, she pulls him out of the nest and carries him home. She banishes him to his room so he can think about being a Siamese Cat, not a bird! But, of course, Skippyjon Jones does no such thing. His imagination runs away with him and he becomes a Siamese Zorro. He travels back to Old Mexico and mistaken for a dog he rescues a band of terrorized chihuahuas  – with EXPLOSIVE results!

Very adorable story! And meaningful, too especially since we have a Chihuahua in the house. I loved this story!!

Rating: 5 paws for the celebration of pure imagination!

Reviewer:

simon-locSimon

Here are the other Skippyjon books!

 

A to Z: R – Rotten Ralph’s Halloween

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Rotten Ralph’s Trick or Treat 

Jack Gantos
Illustrated by Nicole Rubel
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986 

From the dust jacket, “Ralph is back, and he’s rotten as ever. And now it’s one of his favorite times of the year—Halloween!

“Wherever Sarah’s cat goes, there’s trouble. And there’s sure to be more when Sarah gets an invitation to a Halloween party that says, ‘Come as the thing you love best’. Of course Sarah must go as Ralph. And that means double trouble.

“Will Sarah’s friends ever forgive her? Will Sarah ever forgive Ralph? As always, Sarah’s love for Ralph shines through, and Ralph is always Rotten Ralph.”

This is the first Rotten Ralph book I’ve read and will likely be the last. It wasn’t the story so much as the illustrations. Or, maybe, it was both. I don’t like reading about ‘rotten’ cats – even if it’s funny and written for kittens. I know kittens can be rotten and they’ll get a kick out of reading about Ralph’s antics (goldfish in the punch bowl; popcorn flying all over the kitchen) but I didn’t really enjoy it. And, I didn’t like the illustrations of Ralph. He’s ugly – and not the ‘so ugly, he’s cute’ ugly. Just plain ugly. Maybe the author and illustrator wanted him that way because he is rotten. But cute kittens can be rotten, too. And I (as always) prefer my illustrated kitties to be cute, beautiful, or at the very least, ugly-cute. Ralph is none of those things and it sort of ruined to story for me.

The good point of the story is no matter how rotten Ralph was, no matter how much Sarah got mad at him and told him off, in the end, she still loves him and forgives him. And it’s that saving grace that didn’t get a super low rating from me. Every kitten (and adult) needs reminding now and then that no matter how rotten they are, their loved ones still love and accept them (even if they get sent to bed without any supper!)

Rating: 3 out of 5 paws – the main message of the story saves it from being in the bottom of the barrel of ratings!

Reviewer:

delicious-simonSimon

 

A to Z: Q – a QUIRKY book

Since I couldn’t find a cat book with a “Q” in the title, I chose a QUIRKY book to review instead!

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Crenshaw 

Katherine Applegate
Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, 2015 

From the dust jacket: “Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

“Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

“Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.”

When I decided to read this book, I knew it was about a cat and homelessness. I figured it would be sad (and I hate reading sad books). But I didn’t figure on it being sweet, and gentle, and so thought-provoking. It speaks to the amazing resilience of kids who are in tough, out-of-their-control situations and what they will do to survive – like creating a human-sized cat who talks, does handstands, and takes bubble baths. Crenshaw is Jackson’s way of coping with an intolerable situation; he is Jackson’s wiser self, offering advice, comfort and encouragement.

This is a small book, but only in size. It has 230 pages but it’s for elementary aged children so the print is large and a quick read (I read it in about 2.5 hours). Small in size but large in its message. And the message is that of homelessness. Of families being homeless. Of children coping with homelessness.

Jackson makes this comment, “I guess becoming homeless doesn’t happen all at once. My mom told me once that money problems sort of sneak up on you. … Maybe we didn’t become homeless overnight. But that’s what it felt like. I was finishing first grade. My dad had been sick. My mom had lost her teaching job. And all of a sudden—bam—we weren’t living in a nice house with a swing set in the backyard anymore.”

If that doesn’t stop you and make you think “Wow! That could happen to me!”, what will? Homelessness is a difficult subject to deal with but this book handles it with dignity and compassion. Crenshaw may be written for children, but it is so well-written and profound, adults will benefit from reading it as well. It doesn’t have an ‘and they lived happily ever after’ ending but it does end with hope for the future. And that’s all anyone can ask for, is hope for the future.

Rating 5 out 5 paws for the simple, yet profound way Crenshaw and Jackson wove their story.

Reviewer:

img_20180412_140106746_hdr1715147093.jpgPeggySue