Tiny Hats on Cats

tiny hats on cats a

Tiny Hats on Cat

 

Adam Ellis

Grand Central Publishing, 2015

From the back of the book: “Blogger and illustrator Adam Ellis’s amazing paper hats became an instant internet sensation when he posted photographs of his cat Maxwell wearing his creations. In Tiny Hats on Cats, Adam has fashioned the only book dedicated to taking your cat millinery hobby to the next level. Inside you’ll find pictures of his headgear being rocked by feline models. And once you’re feeling inspired, you can follow step-by-step instructions on how to create thirty-six different hats—one for every occasion—from party hats and fedoras to hats fit for safaris and for solving crimes. All you need are a few basic crafting materials and a healthy level of interest in your cat’s wardrobe, and you’re all set to begin! Tiny Hats on Cats will ensure your feline has the purrfect accessory to don at any soiree!”

I must admit it, the hats in this book are really adorable – but you won’t catch me wearing one of them! Thank goodness, I don’t live with my cousins and my Auntie. She’s already snatched the book from me and is making plans to make hats!!!! Poor Toby – I know he’s going to be her preferred model! The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow, so we’ll have to see how the creations come out!

If you’re crafty – or even marginally so – this book looks easy to follow! You’ll at least enjoy looking at all the gorgeous felines stylin’ and profilin’ in their chapeaus!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for cool hats and appearing to be very easy to make (again, we’ll see!)

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack

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Julia Child Rules

julia child rules

Julia Child Rules
Lessons on Savoring Life

Karen Karbo
Illustrations by Mark Steele
skirt!, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, 2013

From the dust jacket: “…Julia Child Rules dissects the life of the sunny, unpretentious chef, author, cooking show star, and bon vivant, with an eye towards learning how we, too, can savor life.

“…{the author} takes us for a spin through Julia’s life: from her idyllic childhood in California to her confusing young adulthood in New York, her years working for the OSS in Sri Lanka, her world-class love affairs with Paris and Paul Child, and her decades as America’s beloved French chef. {The author} weaves in her own personal experiences and stops for import life lessons along the way: how to live by your whims, make the world your oyster, live happily married, work hard, and enjoy a life of full immersion. It celebrates Julia’s indomitable spirit and irrepressible joy, giving readers a taste of what it means to master the art of living.”

Julia Child was an amazing woman and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her life. The author wrote about Julia in a way one might write to a friend about another friend. It is friendly, warm and funny and far from one of those staid, traditional, (and some may say, dry) biographies. It is inspirational and thought provoking, especially with the ‘Rules’ with which the book was tied together. Some of my favorites were: “Rule 1: Live with Abandon; Rule #3: Learn to be Amused; Rule #4: Obey Your Whims; Rule #6: To Be Happy, Work Hard; Rule #7: Solve the Problem in Front of You.” All good rules for any one follow, but the main overall thought is to accept who you are and be that person. Julia knew she would never win any beauty contest but she accepted that fact and was happy and successful anyway. She lived every moment of her life until she lived no more. Her life had just as many valleys and peaks as any of us has, yet she accepted the moments, both good and awful, for what they were and then moved on, still excited about the next step.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for providing inspiration to get out of bed each morning and throw myself fully into my life, savoring it all.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack, North Carolina Division Chief and Banned Books Librarian

In the Great Green Room

in-the-great-green-room

 

In the Great Green Room
The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown

Amy Gary
Flatiron Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “The extraordinary life of the woman behind the beloved children’s classics Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny comes alive in this fascinating biography of Margaret Wise Brown. …
“Clever, quirky, and incredibly talented, Margaret embraces life with passion, lived extravagantly off of her royalties, went on rabbit hunts, and carried on long and troubled love affairs with both men and women. …
“…Margaret died unexpectedly at the age of forty-two, leaving behind a cache of unpublished work and a timeless collection of books that would go on to become classics in children’s literature.
“Author Amy Gary captures the eccentric and exceptional life of Margaret Wise Brown and, drawing on newly discovered personal letters and diaries, reveals an intimate portrait of a creative genius whose unrivaled talent breathed new life into the literary world.”

My Auntie loves Margaret Wise Brown’s books, especially Goodnight Moon. She said she read it to her sons many, many times over their younger years. We don’t normally read biographies – I think this is only the third one we’ve read and reviewed; but because Auntie loves the author’s books so much, we thought we should read it. It was very good!

You can tell the author, Amy Gary, put a great deal of time and research into her book; it is well informed, rich with detail and emotion and super easy to read. In fact, it reads like a novel. The reader is taken chronologically through Brown’s life, not shying away from potentially controversial subjects – who knew that one of the world’s greatest children’s author was bisexual? While it might make a difference to some folks, it’s no matter for us. Talented – no – gifted & artistic people come from all walks of life and generally lead wide-open lives. Brown changed the world of children’s book publishing to what we enjoy today. All of today’s authors really have her to thank for it.

This isn’t a spoiler – you know right from the beginning she dies young – and it was so sudden and tragic, I actually had tears in my eyes. I felt so bad – it was like a friend dying for a stupid reason. You’ll see what I mean when you read the book. It makes me wonder how much more she would have contributed to the world had she lived and continued to write. But don’t let the sad end keep you from reading about this gifted author. If you’ve read any of her books, please read this one!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because in spite of the tragic ending, the author brilliantly captured the wild and wonderful Margaret Wise Brown.

Ps. What does the title mean? You’ll have to read halfway into the book to find out! It is significant!!

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack

Caveat Emptor

caveat-emptor

Caveat Emptor
The Secret Life of an American Art Forger

Ken Perenyi
Pegasus Books, 2012

From the dust jacket: “Ten years ago, an FBI investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the southern District of New York was about to expose a scandal in the art world that would have headlined the front pages in New York and London. After a trail of fake paintings of astonishing quality led federal agents through a labyrinth of art dealers, renowned experts, and major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite the abundance of evidence collected. The case was closed and the FBI file was marked “exempt from public disclosure.”
“Now that the statute of limitations on these crimes has expired and the case appears hermetically sealed shut by the FBI, this book, Caveat Emptor, is Ken Perenyi’s confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off.
“…Caveat Emptor is unique in that it is the first book by and about America’s most talented art forger. And unlike other forgers, Perenyi produced no paper trail, no fake provenance whatsoever; he let the paintings speak for themselves. And that they did, routinely mesmerizing experts in mere seconds.”

This is one of those books that if you read it as fiction or saw it as a movie, you would say ‘that can’t ever happen’. You know the phrase, “The truth is stranger than fiction”? Well, there was never any more truer statement as can be said about this book and about the life its author led (and may still lead). Quite simply, it blew my mind.

Not only is the author incredibly talented – I would say genius/savant level talent – but instinctively aware of what not to do so he doesn’t get caught. Of course, I was truly bothered – no, appalled is a better word – by his lack of basic moral values regarding theft and lying. There was some outright theft but it was more disturbing to me that he spent almost his entire early career lying by omission. He copied great works of art, signed the artist’s name to it but when he offered it for sale – whether to an auction house or a private seller/dealer, he walked up to the line but never crossed it – meaning, he never actually said the painting was by the artist or that he had painted it, just that he had ‘found’ it. It’s a slippery slope he was on and by a measure grace from somewhere he was incredibly successful at it.

The book is very readable – I don’t know if the author is as talented in writing as he is in painting or if he had a ghost writer – but I couldn’t put the book down. He takes the reader through a brief history of the Psychedelic Sixties, the Disco Seventies, the Over Indulgent Eighties, and all the way to the early 2000’s. Forging art was his life and, according to his website (kenperenyi.com) it still is, only he’s upfront with the forgery instead of keeping it hidden. Fascinating, truly fascinating. If you like books about interesting people, read this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because I couldn’t put it down, I just read straight through to the end.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack

Parlor Cats

parlor-cats

Parlor Cats
A Victorian Celebration

Cynthia Hart, John Grossman and Josephine Banks
Workman Publishing, 1991

From the dust jacket: “As with the Queen, so with the Empire: when Victoria revealed a love for cats, her people elevated their tabby mousers to a position unrivaled since ancient Egypt. Celebrating that great era of ailurophilia are Cynthia Hart and John Grossman, the arbiters of Victoriana whose books include A Victorian Scrapbook, Joy to the World and Forget-Me-Nots, as well as the best-selling Victoriana Calendar.
“Peeking out from lushly layered collages, here are endearing Victorian cats drawn from a museum-quality collection of antique paper ephemera and surrounded by the spirited tale of a feline renaissance that spread from Buckingham Palace to the parlors of Boston. Generously quoting poetry, nursery rhymes, Godey’s Lady’s Book, and popular authors such as Edward Lear and Rudyard Kipling, each precious page of Parlor Cats evokes in image and word an age that personified the cat as the epitome of domestic value.”

Unlike the previously reviewed book, The Photographed Cat, which covers part of the same time period (late 1800s through the first decade of the 1900s) this book is immensely more readable. Probably because it was written for the general public whereas The Photographed Cat is a more scholarly work. But even if you don’t read it, it’s still quite a book to look at. The cat collages are beautiful: a combination of paper, jewelry, flowers and much more.

Some of the Victorian items showcased include holiday cards, paper images (clip art), calling cards, postcards, jewelry, paintings, advertisements and porcelain figurines. The ads show cats and kittens hawking all kinds of products: shoe polish, cigarettes, snaps, thumbtacks, cigars and soap powder. This is the time of Beatrix Potter and Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat. If you’re looking for inspiration or if you collect cat books, this one is not to be missed.

Rating: 5 of 5 paws because it’s a gorgeous book of illustrated cats and inspired mom to go shopping for all things cat!!

Reviewer:

simon-loc

Simon