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Top Cat


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About the Author

LOIS EHLERT has created many picture books, including Caldecott Honor-winning Color Zoo, Leaf Man, Pie in the Sky, In My World, Growing Vegetable Soup, Planting a Rainbow, and the best-selling Waiting for Wings. She lives in Wisconsin.


PreS-Ehlert has a way with collage. In one double-page illustration a cat with its hackles raised bristles beautifully. Sad to say, the story line is so poorly expressed that the book might have been better without a text. "Go away, cat! You've invaded my space. And I don't like your cute little face" does nothing to convey the feelings of a cat whose favorite chair has been usurped by a kitten. The inevitable reconciliation between the two felines comes about more because the requisite number of pages have been filled than because of any development in the animals' relationship. This topic has been treated so well by so many talented authors and illustrators including Charlotte Voake in Ginger (Candlewick, 1997) that Ehlert's addition to the canon is truly superfluous.-Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY

"Children and other feline fans will quickly warm to this spunky story of rivalry and acceptance-Publishers Weekly"

"Top cat" is just that‘the pet who rules the roost. That is, until a striped kitten arrives on the scene. Angry and jealous at first, the older cat hisses and bites, letting the new arrival know who's boss. But once the cat realizes the kitten is a permanent addition to the household, it makes the best of a difficult situation and becomes mentor to the fluffy newcomer. Lessons ensue: how to leave fur on the couch, chew on the houseplants, chase birds and "drink from the sink when company's there." With the knowing tone of a true cat lover, Ehlert's (Hands; Color Zoo) rhymed couplets accurately describe the common‘often naughty‘habits of house cats, and cat owners will nod in recognition at her scenarios. Visually, Ehlert creates a memorable cat duo in her trademark cut-paper collage style. Using pulpy, textured paper saturated with color, she assembles crisp shapes into forms exuding purr-sonality. On nearly every page she also includes sound effects, printed in small red letters, to accompany the cats' actions ("chomp," "swish," "scritch") and background noises (birdcalls, clanking silverware, etc.). Children and other feline fans will quickly warm to this spunky story of rivalry and acceptance. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)

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