Friday, October 27, 2017

The Cat Came Back! The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell

Little Red Cat makes a hasty getaway from his house. Is he chasing a mouse? Is a dog chasing him?

Maybe he's revolting against learning his ABCs. We'll never know!

But in short order Little Red Cat meets an ALLIGATOR who clearly wants a snack. And right behind said 'gator is another predator, a BEAR!

It's quite a lineup--ALLIGATOR, BEAR, CAT (still outrunning the two). Could this be--an ALPHABET BOOK?

Well, next comes a DRAGON, and then a chicken laying an EGG (with legs), and indeed there seems to be a recognizable order in this chase.

Yes, it's definitely an alphabet book on the run, with Little Red Cat unable to exit, page right!

The Dragon has FIERY breath which is so bright everyone has to put on dark GLASSES, even the EGG, who has no ears for the earpieces. They speed through the letters, slowing down only for a vertical double-page spread in which they all PARACHUTE after the Little Red Cat.

The chase is still on and there's no stopping--except for a REST ROOM break, and then the race resumes yet again. Is there no end to this run? The SUN is going down, and they are growing TIRED! Is there any rest for the weary runners?

Never fear, gentle readers. All alphabets end eventually and this one has a gentle conclusion involving (What else?) a UNICORN and a princess with VALENTINES for all, inspiring hugs among the crowd. X marks the spot for huge YAWNS and plenty of ZZZZZZs for the well-exercised letters of the English alphabet, and isn't that what alphabet books are for?

Caldecott winning, best-selling author Patrick McDonnell's new The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC's (the Hard Way) (Little, Brown and Company, 2017) features a retro-style cartoon cat and the usual alphabetical suspects in a different sort of alphabet book that echews the usual A is for Apple type of text in a tale that never stops moving. McDonnell's illustrations are inspired and not necessarily intuitive, as his chase has his string of letter characters swinging on vines through JUNGLE and running off a cliff (NNNNNOOOOO!) in jolly Roadrunner-and-Coyote style, in action that will keep kids giggling and turning the pages--and even learning their letters The New York Times Book Review says, "McDonnell's work once again proves to be silly, sweet, and even timeless." "Give this book an F, yes, an F: for fun and funny." says Kirkus in their starred review.

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