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August 18, 2010

Review: Purrsnikitty

2010 Finishes: Books

I don't tend to review picture books very often, but Kathy Brodsky is a local-ish author and her publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of her new book, Purrsnikitty. It's a simple rhyming story about a cat and its family, and it's designed to teach children about sibling rivalry as well as pet care. Now, I will admit that I am skeptical about children's books with stated purposes like this; they can, of course, be useful in certain situations, but they're often not that good just as books. I was pleasantly surprised with Purrsnikitty in that respect: the "lesson" comes in when a new puppy joins the family and the cat must learn to get along with it, but I actually thought this conflict was resolved a little too quickly. I would have liked to see more dog vs. cat antics. Other than that, the story was good. My favorite moment was when the cat wondered why his family brought home a puppy and not something fun like a mouse. I cringed when I saw that there were "discussion questions" at the end, but they're not bad! Many are simple and factual - "Do you have a cat?" "Are you the oldest, youngest or middle child in your family?" - and a few are more abstract - "What would life be like without any brothers or sisters?"

The story is written in rhyming verse, about four lines to each two-page spread. There are a few places where the rhymes don't quite work, and the meter isn't perfect, so you might trip over your tongue when reading it aloud. (Or you might be less stuck on perfect iambs than I am and it won't bother you at all.) The language is clear while still using some fun words like "prance" and "humungous." I quite liked the illustrations - they're stylized but don't make the cat look too cutesy or cartoony. (I am picky about my cat illustrations.) I especially love the rich texture, and my favorite is one image of the dog and cat snuggling on a pillow next to a pair of boots while snow falls on a snowman outside the window.

You can find Purrsnikitty and Brodsky's other books at her site. I didn't have any actual children handy so I don't have any age-appropriate reactions, but I've sent the book off to a friend with kids in hopes that she'll review it as well. I'll give you a link if she does!

Posted by Kat at August 18, 2010 03:00 PM
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