Scroll down to page 14 of the Kirkus Autumn & Winter 2006 Preview and you will find the listings for children’s books. Some of them look great, though I am just judging them by their covers and authors at this point.
Saint Iggy by KL Going is already on my to-read list. As is London Calling by Edward Bloor, oh and the new David Levithan is a must read for me. The picture book that looks wondrous is Up by Jim LaMarche. The cover alone will have that one flying off the shelves. And for some reason, I hadn’t heard that Philip Reeve has a new title coming out. It is described as “Part Star Wars, part Alice in Wonderland — and all comic adventure.” Well, I just gotta add that to my ever-growing list as well!
Mrs. Crump’s Cat by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Roberts.
Mrs. Crump is a rather grumpy, older woman who lives by herself. But her life changes when a cat insists on entering her house and staying. She finds herself buying cream for the cat, even though the grocer warns her not to feed it. And on her walk back home, it somehow seems shorter. Each day, Mrs. Crump tries to put the cat out, but then something makes her reconsider. As the days pass, she gets happier and more friendly. When she puts up the missing cat flyer to see if the cat belongs to anyone, she describes the cat in very unique terms. No one claims the cat, so Mrs. Crump has very little choice but to happily live with it.
I enjoyed this more than other unwanted cat stories, because the cat does nothing but simply be a cat. It is not sneaking back in after being thrown out or making a pest of itself. It simply is there wanting to be fed, happy to be petted, looking for a warm lap. Recommend this one to cat lovers. It is a nice length to share with Kindergarteners or first graders in a cat storytime.
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw tale of friendship and freedom by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges.
Martha Tom, a young Choctaw girl, crosses the Bok Chitto River even though she has been told not to. There she finds a slave church service out in the forest. Martha makes friends with Little Mo, a young slave who returns her safely to the other side of the river after slowly and silently passing right under the noses of the Master and his family. Then it is Little Mo’s turn to see the Choctaw people doing a wedding ceremony. The two children cross back and forth, learning more about each other’s cultures. But then comes the day when Little Mo’s mother is sold away. The only solution is for them to escape. It is his friendship with Martha Tom that will save their family.
This book is gorgeously illustrated, winningly written, and will sound a chord with most people. The use of faith and song to tie two cultures together is done lovingly and with great respect for both. This is one to hand to families looking for a deep, moving story whatever their faith or background. Simply lovely.