Bad Kitty: Scaredy-Cat

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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!!!






Tea with Oliver

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Tea with Oliver

Mika Song

Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Dear Reader, Oliver is not like other cats. He likes cookies and tea. Just like me. I think we will be best friends…if he will just read one of my letters! Philbert the Mouse.”

It’s usually cat vs. mouse in most stories but in this one, Tea with Oliver, the reader learns just because someone is different doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with them! Oliver’s story is sweet and we enjoyed the illustrations.

Rating, 3 out of 5 paws because we liked it – we just didn’t love it. Maybe with different illustrations… .






Marigold Bakes a Cake

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Marigold Bakes a Cake

Mike Malbrough

Philomel Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Marigold the cat loves Mondays, for that is when he bakes cakes! With his favorite recipe in front of him, he rolls up his sleeves and gets down to it.

“He whips up egg whites…Easy. He adds a cup of milk…Peasy. Then he sprinkles in just a pinch of FINCH?!

“That’s not right at all! Neither are the smidgeons of pigeons or the spoonfuls of loons who noisily and messily barge their way into Marigold’s kitchen. Clearly a chase is in order.”

Oh, we all loved this book – especially Toby because Marigold is a lovely shade orange. And because Marigold is so beautifully illustrated. And the expressions on his face when the birds invade Marigold’s kitchen and when he has a kind-hearted moment for the attempt at a bird-made cake. The orange tabby’s story made us laugh out loud – especially when Marigold flew into “full feline frenzy”!!

If you have a human or cat in your life who is particularly fussy about everything, read them this book. Maybe it will help them to loosen up a bit.

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because Marigold reminds mom of Toby and his antics.





Ghost Cat

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Ghost Cat


Eve Bunting

Illustrated by Kevin M. Barry

Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

From the dust jacket, “For many years Miss Maggie McCullen has been the keeper for the Port Carrick lighthouse. The people in Port Carrick are proud of her. “She keeps that big light going,” they say. “Never misses a night. You can’t count the lives Miss Maggie and her light saved.” And while the people are grateful to Miss Maggie, they also worry about her and her lonely life at the lighthouse.

“But they don’t know that she has her cat, Sailor Boy, for company. Because Sailor Boy is no ordinary cat. He’s a ghost cat. He can make himself visible or invisible, especially when visitors come to call and he wants to be mischievous.  But when a fierce storm comes and Miss Maggie needs special assistance, Sailor Boy proves just how extraordinary he is.”

This is the second book I’ve read recently about a ghostly pet! (The other one is Goldfish Ghost!) In this case the cat, Sailor Boy can make himself be seen or unseen. The story is pretty good – the author spends half the book giving the reader background info and then the big event happens. Sailor Boy does prove himself to be very helpful and saves the day. However, the story ended abruptly – when I turned the (what turned out to be) the last page, I was really surprised – I felt it needed at least one more page to wind-up the tale. I read the book several times just to make sure and each time it was the same thing – one page short of a sure winner.

Rating 3 out of 5 paws – a good story with delightful illustrations!!




If I Ran the Zoo

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If I Ran the Zoo


Dr. Seuss

Random House, 1950, 1977

From the dust jacket, “Young Gerald McGrew went to the zoo one day and came up with some crazy ideas about how he would change it – maybe there weren’t any crazy ideas, but there are certainly some crazy animals he dreamt up. First, he would open the cages and let all of the ‘old-fashioned’ animals loose (lions, tigers, ducks, etc.) and second, he would travel the world searching for unique animals.

“And what are those unique animals, you ask? Well … how about a ten-footed lion? Or an elephant-cat! Also, there’s an animal known as Bustard and one known as Flustard. And then there’s the very cool, blue-furred Iota and the Tufted Mazurka!”

Dr. Seuss wrote this rhyming book for kittens, not adult cats, so of course, certain cat parents have become upset with it over the years – wanting to ban it because it is derogatory toward one group of humans – but amazingly, I haven’t read any complaints about the illustrations of another group of humans being derogatory (the illustrations depicting Africans are really close to insulting that particular group).

The primary reason the book has been challenged is for the line:

“I’ll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant

With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant.”

Now, it is of the Library’s opinion that Dr. Seuss chose the ‘offending’ phrase because it rhymed with the line before it – not for any nefarious reason!  This line is also accompanied by a stereotypical-illustration Asians with slanted eyes and ‘Fu-Manchu’ mustaches, circa 1950, which helps to cement the offensive nature of the book to sensitive readers. If you remember any of the movies from the 40s-50s that had folks from the Pacific Rim acting, you’ll get the idea.

So, here’s the thing, my opinion for what it’s worth, before you read a book to a kitten, read it yourself first. If you don’t like it or it goes against your morals, don’t read it to them; but don’t prevent other kitten parents from reading it! It’s okay if you don’t like the book. But it’s not okay if you won’t even let me read it to decide if I like it or not! Okay, I’m off the soapbox, for now, any way!

This book, as are all of Dr. Seuss’ are, is a product of the age in which it was written and illustrated. To change or censor the classic book would be as bad as banning it. I don’t particularly like Dr. Seuss – his nonsensical writing style is cute but also drives me crazy!! And, his creatures all look alike – or mostly alike. But that doesn’t mean other kittens and cats shouldn’t read it! Try it, you may like it!!!

Rating: 3 out of 5 paws – not because it’s offensive (The Library is only occasionally offended by a book or work of art) but because I just don’t like Dr. Seuss – or at least this book! Too nonsensical for me.

I found this one instance of book-challenging: “Stereotypical depictions of Asians, who “all wear their eyes at a slant,” were the reason this book was challenged in Vancouver (BC) in 2014. Vancouver Public Library chose to keep it on the shelves, but will not be reading it at storytimes, and will only promote it as an example of how depictions of other cultures have changed over time.”

And from a review of 6/17/17 from “This book has lots of racist message, whoever wrote that particular Dr Seuss book is vicious, want to poison kid mind” [sic]



Jack, North Carolina Division Chief and Banned Books Librarian