The Sweetest Witch Around

the sweetest witch a

The Sweetest Witch Around

Alison McGhee

Illustrated by Harry Bliss

A Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014

From the dust jacket, “All the witches in witch land are afraid of humans. The human ways are so mysterious. Why do those humans go house to house every Halloween saying “Trick or treat!” just to get candy? All witches know candy tastes yucky.

“But a brave little witch doesn’t think so. Before you can say “lollipop,” little Witchling is off to experience Halloween firsthand and to go get some candy for herself! Candy, yum!”

The Halloween book is really cute with the young ‘Witchling’ discovering for herself just how yummy candy is (well, at least to people, not cats). However, the best part is the Witch’s cat – an orange tabby, Kitty, is certainly not silent or without opinion! I also loved all the little details, like, “Graveyard Barbie” complete with “cut-out graves.” Then there’s the “Easy-Bake Cauldron” where the Witchling is attempting to make Slug & Spider Stew and Kitty’s standing nearby with an empty plate! This is the kind of Halloween story I like – fun and surprising!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because who doesn’t want to see a witches cat ride a broomstick??






Pumpkin Cat

pumpkin cat a

Pumpkin Cat

Ann Turner

Illustrated by Amy June Bates

From the dust jacket: “One stormy night just before Halloween, a soaked ginger cat finds shelter in a warm library. Pumpkin Cat, as she is named by the welcoming librarians, realizes how luck she is to have found a safe place where she’s cared for and where children come to visit every day.

“Yet once the sun sets and Pumpkin Cat is alone, she recognizes that the library can’t yet truly be called “home.” Something special is missing—but what is it?”

This is a completely sweet story about a ginger (orange, or red) cat swept away by a rain storm only to wash up across the street from a library. And even though she is well loved by everyone, she still longs for something that would make her home a home.

The publisher recommends the book for 3-7 year-olds and considering the long story and large number of words, I would say that it’s an accurate age range. But, the younger kittens would enjoy the book being read to them, if only to enjoy the watercolor illustrations which are expressive and very pretty. It is a Halloween book and even though the kitty is scared a little, there’s nothing scary about it. This is a lovely seasonal book that doesn’t have to be read in season!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because Pumpkin Cat is orange like Toby and he insisted it be so!!




Rotten Ralph’s Trick or Treat

rotten ralphs halloween a

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!





Happy Halloween, Mittens

happy halloween mittens a

Happy Halloween, Mittens

Lola M. Schaefer

Pictures by Susan Kathleen Hartung

Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2010

From the dust jacket: “Nick is getting ready for Halloween, and Mittens wants to help. But the only thing he seems to be good at is making a mess—until Mittens finds his own way to contribute to the special night’s spooky good fun.”

This is a beginning reader book that is very cute. The print is very large, with simple sentences that carry the story along. The pictures are sweet and show lots of expression in both Nick and Mittens. When you and your kittens are getting ready for Halloween, this is the perfect book to read! You’ll laugh at Mitten’s antics, feel a little sorry for him when he gets into trouble but want to cheer when he finally saves the holiday!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a very cute gray tabby kitten that reminds mom of {Angel} Agnes.




Bad Kitty: Scaredy-Cat

bad kitty scaredy cat a


Bad Kitty: Scaredy-Cat


Nick Bruel

A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press, 2016

From the dust jacket, “Kitty wasn’t always such a scaredy-cat.  She used to be brave. She used to be daring. She used to be energetic! That is, until one late October day a group of terrifying monsters showed up on her doorstop. (I think that’s supposed to be ‘doorstep’). There was … an Angry Alien and a Bizarre Bigfoot and a Creepy clown!

“Then kitty became scared … very scared. Until she discovered they came with Candy. In this spookily hilarious picture book, she’s up against something scary, something creepy, and something more frightening than Puppy’s slobber: Halloween.”

Here’s yet another book about a kitty being bad, and yet again, I don’t like reading books about cats being bad. And, like Rotten Ralph, Bad Kitty is not a prettily illustrated cat. She’s not as ugly as Rotten Ralph, but she’s definitely on the ugly side of the fence. Why do authors and illustrators think that only ugly cats can misbehave? PeggySue is a beautiful cat – but boy is she rotten when she wants to be!

Anyway, this book about Halloween is pretty cute – it counts down the alphabet several times; first all about who Kitty was (a gallant kitty, an inept kitty, a kittenish kitty. Then, as trick or treaters begin coming to the house, the reader counts down a Bad Kitty alphabet of monsters! The third time there’s a Bad Kitty alphabet it’s all about the candy the trick or treaters dropped – which just sets her off in frantic Bad Kitty-walloping the monsters alphabet. That one is very funny!!

Since I sort-of like Bad Kitty, I’ll be giving her another chance in a Christmas book I’ll be reading later. But for now, her rating is 3 out of 5 paws. Her story was cute but she sure isn’t!!!