A River of Words

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A River of Words
The Story of William Carlos Williams

Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008

From the dust jacket: “Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So when he grew up, he went off to medical school and became a doctor – one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry.

“In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be poet.”

I checked this book out not necessarily for the story, but for the illustrator, Melissa Sweet. The LoC fell in love with her artistry after reading The Right Word. We love collage! And in this case, the artist accentuates her collage with watercolor. I was familiar with the story of William Carlos Williams and it was good to see his story illustrated for kittens. Most poetry just flies above my head but his is about every day things in every day language. Beautiful, succinct word pictures. Expose your kittens to both collage and poetry – read them this book! A fun summer activity would be to have them write a poem about whatever they want and then create a collage using magazine pictures and coloring book pages! I just might do that myself!!

Rating 5 out of 5 for glorious artistry!

Reviewer: PeggySue peggysue-loc



Telling Tales

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Telling Tails
Second Chance Cat: Book 4

Sofie Ryan
Berkley Prime Crime, 2017

From the back of the book, “When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. But then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now, she has nine lives worth of excitement…

“Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes ups, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.

“Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sara, Elvis and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again…”

In most cozy mysteries the murder takes place within the first couple of chapters. However, in this tale, we are led to think a murder has taken place only to not be completely sure until 3/4s of the way in the book. Rose’s friends believe her (although it takes some convincing) but the police definitely think she’s just a little old lady who’s had a stroke or something. And, just when I thought I had it all figured out, then, SURPRISE!, the murderer was not who I thought it was. This is a fun series filled with intrigue, almost-romance and a lie-detecting cat. Excellent!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws

Reviewer: BobbieSue


A Whisker of Trouble

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A Whisker of Trouble
Second Chance Cat Mystery, Book 3

Sofie Ryan
Obsidian, 2016

From the back of the book: “Spring has come to charming North Harbor, Maine, and with the new season comes a new haul for Sarah Grayson’s shop, Second Chance, where she sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. Sarah is turning her keen eye to the estate of collector Edison Hall, hoping for fabulous finds for Second Chance – but when her rescue cat, Elvis, discovers a body in the kitchen, everything goes paws up.

“The body belongs to an appraiser who was hired to check out Edison’s wine collection. when Edison’s sister shows up at Second Chance, she hires Sarah’s friends – the kooky and charismatic who call themselves Charlotte’s’ Angels and work out of the shop. To solve the murder, Sarah knows she and Elvis are going only to get deeper into the case. But as it becomes a cat-and-mouse game of lies, cons, cheats, and family squabbles, can Elvis and Sarah claw their way to the truth before the kittler slinks away forever?”

Another great installment of the Second Chance Cat series. I’m going to miss this series when I’m finished getting caught up. I’ve come to quite like the ‘little old ladies’ who make up the detective team. Its definitely formulaic, as just about all cozies are, but it’s a well-put-together formula. The Angels do most of the leg work but its Sarah who figures out who the killer is – just in time to be almost killed. She fights back, Elvis attacks the attacker, and then one of her kooky friends rescues her from oblivion. Sarah’s almost-romance takes a step in the right direction and Elvis gets tons of sardines for being a hero. Oh, and the mystery is pretty good, too. I had my suspicions about who it was, and I was right! I love it when I guess who the culprit is, although I can’t ever figure out why!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a fun cozy mystery (if murder could be called fun!).

Reviewer: BobbieSue


Mark Twain for Cat Lovers

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Mark Twain for Cat Lovers
True and Imaginary Adventures with Feline Friends

Edited by Mark Dawidziak
Rowman & Littlefield, 2016

From the back of the book, “From his boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to his last years in Connecticut, Mark Twain spent much of his life surrounded by cats, and they stalk through many of his best-known books. In this lighthearted book, Mark Dawidzak explores the writer’s lifelong devotion to cats, illuminating a little-known side of this famous writer’s life that will appeal to Twain aficionados and cat lovers alike.”

Well, its about time I got the chance to review a book (BobbieSue has nearly taken over the blog with her cozy mysteries!!). Before reading this little gem of a book, we didn’t realize Mark Twain was such a cat lover. Not only did he have cats of his own but when he went anywhere else to stay for an extended period, he would rent (meaning, borrow) a cat from someone else to keep him company.

This book covers various stories from Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, as well as various newspaper and magazine articles and even his autobiography. Some of the names of his cats were Abner, Stray Kit, Sour Mash, Zoroaster, Deuteronomy, Tammany and Billiards.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the home-spun antics of Mark Twain, then you’ll enjoy this book. And, as the publisher’s blurb says, if you love cats, you’ll really love this book. It’s a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, so if fits so many readers wants!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for also including photographs of Mark Twain with cats!!

Reviewer: toby-locToby


The Three Pigs

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The Three Pigs

David Wiesner
Clarion Books, 2001

From the dust jacket, “Three pigs…Straw, sticks, bricks…Huffs and puffs…You probably know the rest. It’s an old story, and every time someone tells it the same thing happens. But who says it’s supposed to? Who’s in charge of this story? Who gets to decide? Has anyone asked the pigs? No? Well, it’s about time someone did.

“Here, thanks to David Wiesner, is the answer.”

I don’t know if David Wiesner ever read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, or if Jasper Fforde read Wiesner’s books? Wiesner has that same off-the-wall, so-far-out-of-the-box imagination that it just blows your mind. In case you don’t remember, Fforde’s Thursday Next series is all about an alternate England where books and all their characters have a life & world of their own inside Book World.  Just like Fforde’s characters can go from book to book, Wiesner’s pigs go from story to story, picking up friends along the way before they finally settle back in their own story. Loved the concept, loved the illustrations, loved these three pigs. When you read it, be sure to keep an eye on the wolf. He’s just going along with the story but some of the looks on his face are priceless. He can’t figure out what’s going on around him and even though the narrator says he ate the pig, he can’t find a pig to eat! Too funny. Seriously, too-too funny!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – I reviewed this book several years ago but I finally got my own copy at a library book sale and thought it so special, I’d review it again!!

Reviewer: simon-locSimon


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