Weekly Low Down on Kids Books 7/25/12

July 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: But Who Will Bell the Cats?

Author: Cynthia Von Buhler

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

In 2009, I distinctly remember coming across an ad for this book (maybe from my days of stalking shelfari for hours on end).  I sat clicking though the website (click book cover and it will take you there) thinking it was so cool and eerie.  Finally, this year – this month actually – I had the pleasure of reading But Who Will Bell the Cats? to my kiddo.  It is so wonderful.

Based on an Aesop’s Fable, But Who Will Bell the Cats? follows the adventures of a mouse and bat as they try to get bells around the necks of the royal princess’s 8 cats.  If they could hear the cats approaching, there would be more freedoms and amenities available to them around the palace, they would no longer be confined to the cellar in fear.

The story is a lovely twist on a classic dilemma with beautiful and riveting images not limited by your typical 2D art.  Von Buhler has made real sets for paper dolls and photographed them, making the art fascinating, unique, and a little bit intense:

In addition to having written this story, I was also the painter, sculptor, interior decorator, mason, gardener, and plumber of the sets. The rooms were built by hand from wood. The stone walls were formed from plaster. The floors are handmade from inlaid wood, mother-of-pearl, and plaster. The characters were painted in oils on gessoed paper, then cut out and placed in the sets. I photographed the scenes with a Nikon D300.

– Cynthia Von Buhler

(Browse through each part of the castle/book and how it was made: http://butwhowillbellthecats.blogspot.com/2008/06/portraits.html)

We love it, and it is a great story to read right before nap time (due to the length on each page, you really need a settled kiddo to hold their attention if they are under two).  For older kids, the website offers all sorts of activities and games to tie into the book, including printable paper dolls, like the ones used to make the book!  Visit: http://butwhowillbellthecats.com/lookinside.html

Title: The Wishing Star

Author: M. Christina Butler

Illustrator: Frank Endersby

Publisher: Little Tiger Press

Today at the story time at Half Price Books in Humble, a little girl picked this title out for me to read.  We all enjoyed it so much, her mother bought it before leaving the store.

Endersby’s art work is so lovely and eye-catching.  Reminiscent of the Rainbow Fish books, but somehow better, more subtle.  Butler’s story, however, is what really sells it.  It is adorable and sweet, about the meaning of friendship and what friends will do for each other.  The writing is a higher quality than what you get out of Rainbow Fish, and I hope to see more of this author paired with this illustrator in the future.

Together, they created magic.

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1 Comment

  1. Cassie said,

    Any book about cats using Aesop’s fables – I’m there. I think my nephew would really love this book. Thank you for sharing.

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