Just Between Friends: Ballet Cat:The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea
"WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TODAY, BALLET CAT?"
"YOU PICK, SPARKLES."
"LET'S MAKE CRAFTS!" SAYS SPARKLES.
"YAY!" ANSWERS BALLET CAT.
Best friends Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony never disagree. But when they spread out their art supplies and start to work, Sparkles spots a problem.
"OH, NO! WE SHOULD NOT LEAP WITH SCISSORS!"
Ballet Cat can't seem to curb her yen to dance while she crafts. And everyone knows it's not safe to jete' with sharp objects!
Time for a new plan! Sparkles produces the checkerboard and starts to set for a match. Ballet Cat is enthusiastic, so enthusiastic that she can't resist some high kicks. Kerplop goes the checkerboard with pieces sailing everywhere.
Sparkles the Pony picks them up politely and suggests that they set up a lemonade stand. But then, on the basis of recent experience, he nixes the idea right away, pointing that Ballet Cat's spins are sure to spill the lemonade sooner or later. Thoughtfully, Sparkles suggests that she might eschew spinning for the day. Ballet Cat replies, just a bit sarcastically.
"HA! GOOD ONE, SPARKLES!"
Like that's going to happen! It seems there's only one choice that accommodates Ballet Cat's spinning, twirling, and kicking. They will have to play ballet yet again today!
But as Ballet Cat fluffs her tutu and starts twirling, she notices that Sparkles is not getting a kick out of kicking and his twirls are half-hearted. Something is wrong, she says to Sparkle. (Ballerinas know these things, you know.)
"I CAN'T TELL YOU. IT'S A SECRET SECRET."
"IS IT THAT YOU ARE NOT SO GOOD AT BALLET? THAT IS NOT A VERY SECRET SECRET, SPARKLES."
"NO, NOT THAT." SAYS SPARKLES SOFTLY.
Sparkles tells Ballet Cat that he knows she won't be his friend if he tells HER his secret secret. Ballet Cat promises that nothing can change their friendship.
"SOMETIMES I DON'T WANT TO PLAY BALLET," HE CONFESSES, WITH A TEAR.
But Ballet Cat has her own surprising secret secret to tell, in Bob Shea's Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret (Hyperion Books, 2015), a brand-new easy reading tale of BFFs who put their friendship above everything else. In the straightforward style of Mo Willems' award-winning Elephant and Piggie stories for beginning readers, Shea's bold black line and boisterous colors contrast with the sensitivity of his narration in which real friends understand each other's feelings. (Cat reveals that even she is tired of ballet play every day.) Shea's expressive comic drawings--which use three dots and squiggles for Ballet Cat's necklace and tutu--are full of movement and his spare but skillful cartooning clearly reveals the emotions of his best-best friends. "Shea mines Ballet Cat’s dialed-up enthusiasm and Sparkles’s hangdog expressions for everything they are worth," says Publishers Weekly's starred review. A promising new series for young readers takes the stage, a fantastic follow-up for kids familiar with Shea's hilarious emergent readers' favorites, his Dinosaur Vs. series (see reviews here).