Review: Lulu and the Cat in the Bag by Hilary McKay

lulu and the cat in the bag

Lulu and the Cat in the Bag by Hilary McKay

This third Lulu book continues the story of Lulu’s love affair with any type of animal.  In this story, a cat is dropped off on Lulu’s doorstep in a bag.  Lulu opens the bag over her aunt’s objections.  Her aunt is watching her while her parents are on vacation and is not fond of animals at all.  When the bag is opened, the cat goes running off and disappears.  Though Lulu searches for it, she is unable to find it.  When she returns to her room later, the cat is there on her bed, having climbed in through her open window.  Steadily, the big orange cat starts to become part of the family, even changing Lulu’s aunts thoughts on cats in general.  It dominates the two dogs, scares the bird and even gathers flowers from the garden to scatter about the house.  Then the cat simply disappears, they search for it with Lulu’s aunt’s help, but no one can find it.  Until Lulu makes a surprising discovery!

I’ve enjoyed all of the Lulu books so far and this just adds to the delight that is this series.  Lulu is a wonderful protagonist.  It is a pleasure to see a child character so into animals who does her chores and takes good care of her animals with no complaining.  Lulu is also quite a scamp, so the book are filled with a natural childhood zest and Lulu’s own special take on things.  This is another great treat of a book from McKay.

A series to rival Clementine, get this into the hands of those readers and they will find a new feisty young heroine to love.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from digital galley received from

Review: The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson

man with the violin

The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dusan Petricic

Based on a true event, this book shows the innate connection of children and music.  When Dylan and his mother leave the house, Dylan is always noticing things.  His mother is not.  It was an ordinary day until he heard the music in the subway station.  The man with the violin played and the notes swept through the crowded area.  Dylan wants to stop and begs his mother to pause, but she won’t.  Dylan though is left with the music in his head and finally convinces his mother that evening to stop and hear the music too.

This book is based on the true story of when the renowned violinist Joshua Bell played in the Washington DC subway.  His story is captured in the notes at the end of the book, explaining that only seven people stopped to listen to him play and that many children paused but the adults with them hurried on.  Stinson writes with a playfulness that makes the book dance along.  She uses lots of rhythms and noises throughout, really bringing the world of the city and subway to life. 

Petricic’s art captures the wonder and brightness of music, the zigging noise of shouting and screeching subway.  Dylan is a bright spot of color, the music in the air sweeps and swirls with bright colors, and the violinist is also a bright spot, as you can see in the cover image.  The music is powerful enough to lift Dylan off his feet, swirl his hair like a breeze, and entirely transform is day.

Bravo for capturing this eloquent story about the power of music and its connection to children in particular.  Standing ovation!  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Annick Press and NetGalley.

39 Clues–The Movie

The Medusa Plot (39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #1) A King's Ransom (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #2) The Dead of Night (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #3)

According to an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Studios are in talks to pick up movie options for the 39 Clues series.  The series is made up of 10 books and have been amazingly popular with young readers thanks to their quick moving plots and the multi-media components.

This may all sound familiar, since DreamWorks had optioned the film rights back in 2008.  A screenplay was written and a director selected, but it is unclear whether the script will be used on the new project and who will direct.