Homer The Cat by Reeve Lindbergh, Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 32 pages)
Any child that lives with an indoor cat is likely to both love and identify with this story of Homer the cat. Homer’s a contented feline… Although he does not go outdoors, he’s got toys to play with and birds to watch and is well fed by a nice, quiet lady who lives in a quiet house. Then one day, as the quiet lady is off at work (at a place unknown to Homer), a window suddenly falls out of its housing and Homer finds himself out in the world. It’s a place that – to his sensitive ears – is loud and frightening, and no matter where he goes in town, he can’t find the “cozy, cat-size space” that he craves.
Homer visits various locations on his unplanned journey, and has a few near-misses with bad consequences before he discovers “a quiet building across a quiet floor.” This turns out to be the public library where his quiet lady owner is reading books aloud to several children. Quiet lady and Homer are ecstatic to see each other, and the children naturally love seeing and petting the great orange cat. So Homer decides to make the library his new second home, a plan approved by the library kids as being “purr-fect!”
This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book, which will make a fine addition to the library of any young reader aged 4 and above. The moral of the rhyming tale (or is that tail?) seems to be that no matter what happens, a splendid place to call home can always be found. This should prove reassuring to any socially nervous young ones.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
The Sniffles for Bear: A Bear and Mouse Children’s Book by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Karly MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press; $16.99; 32 pages)
“Bear was sick, very, very sick… Bear was sure no one had ever been as sick as he.”
This terrific book in the Bear and Mouse children’s book series is perfect for teaching a sensitive child that a transitory illness can have a bark that’s worse than its bite. In this finely illustrated tale, Bear (and he’s a big one!) is down with a winter flu and he’s sure that he’s dying – so sure that he decides to draw up a will to give away his worldly possessions. Mouse (the far smaller of the two friendly animals) helps Bear to keep his grip on this mortal coil by nursing him through his illness with the benefit of some hand-holding and Nettle soup. A congested Bear says of the soup, “Dat was just the thing.”
Eventually, Bear comes to feel better and – wouldn’t you know it? – Mouse winds up catching the flu and all he wants to do is rest. So the tables are turned, and its Bear’s turn to take care of Mouse; some Nettle soup and Mouse goes happily, snuggly to sleep.
The colors in this book are subtly relaxing, and the story is told with such humor and irony that your child will likely plead with you to read it before catching 40 winks. Highly recommended.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. The Sniffles for Bear is recommended for children ages 3 and up. The first book in the series, A Visitor for Bear, was a New York Times Bestseller and an E. B. White Read Aloud Award Winner.
A review of The Sniffles for Bear: A Children’s Book by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Karly MacDonald Denton.