I believe that reading the right book can be a transformative experience. As a mother, former longtime bookseller and ardent reader of children's literature, I want to help kids start their reading journey on the right path. Insightful reviews and excellent suggestions of similar titles will ensure that readers are never without a good book in hand. My new job as an assistant to a literary agent is helping me to hone my critical skills and bring you the very best of the best in kid's books.
Cat Tale by Michael Hall
I regret not reviewing Michael Hall's first two books, My Heart is Like a Zoo and Perfect Square, both of which are fantastic and read repeatedly by me at story times. I hope to make up for this oversight by introducing you to to all three of his books here! Cat Tale is Hall's newest book and, like his first two, Hall's Eric-Carleian, Leo Lionni-esque-colorful-collage-style is perfectly suited to his playful stories. Cat Tale begins, "From word to word they find their way, Lillian, Tilly and William J." With this almost-tongue-twisting start, you know you are in for some fun. The cats, "pack some books and kitty chews. They choose a spot, they spot some ewes." From page to page, the words flow like honey and change like chameleons. The three cats "flee a steer. They steer a plane. They plane a board. They board a train."
It never ceases to amaze me the way Hall makes this crazy tale fit together! As their story draws to a close, the three cats "tail a bear. They bear some hail. The hail a giant purple whale. From word to word they find their way, Lillian, Tilly and William J." This delightful, charming book ends where it started - with books! When we first meet the three cats, they are packing books for their adventure and at the end of their journey they are cuddled on the couch, reading together!
Hall's second book, Perfect Square, is my favorite of the three. A perfect square is perfectly happy being red and square. But, "on Monday, the square was cut into pieces and poked full of holes. It wasn't perfectly square anymore." The great fun of this book is the anticipation and guessing what the square, in its new form, will become as the week unfolds. The cut up, holey square turns itself into a fountain that "babbled and giggled and clapped"! Over and over the square changes and changes into beautiful, wonderful things, coming together at the end in a brilliant way. A celebration of imperfection, Perfect Square reminds me of Barney Saltzberg's charming, superb, Beautiful Oops!, both of which make excellent gift.
Finally, Hall's charming first book, My Heart is Like a Zoo is best experienced by watching the book trailer. You will be amazed at the animals Hall can make using hearts only...