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About the Author-
- Patricia C. McKissack (1944–2017) wrote over one hundred books for young readers, often with her husband Fredrick McKissack. She won the Coretta Scott King Medal three times and was an Honor winner six times. She also won a Newbery Honor Award.
February 19, 2018
Lush, cinematic illustrations add drama to the late McKissack’s retelling of Aesop’s classic fable. After a group of warmhearted barn mice nurse a cat back to health, the cat, named Marmalade, turns on them, terrifying them as they gather to figure out what to do. Her chilly metallic eyes, savage teeth, and curved claws are genuinely scary. Debut illustrator Cyr shows the conclave of mice lit by a stained-glass window as Smart Mouse speaks from a matchbook lectern. The mice secure a sleigh bell and attach it
to a collar, but fastening the collar to Marmalade’s neck proves impossible. Even a menacing pack of rats can’t help. Then a new human family moves to their farm. While the mice recognize that depending on human help may backfire (“When you use a tiger to get rid of a lion, what will you do with the tiger?”), they decide that it’s the lesser of two evils. The African-American child who discovers both Marmalade and the collar proves that they made the right decision: “A collar with a bell on it. Just perfect for you.... Now, I’ll always know where you are.” Ages 4–8.
February 15, 2018
The mice in the barn have a cat problem and must rely on their own wits to solve it.After taking pity on a poor starving tabby cat named Marmalade, the barn mice learn that no good deed goes unpunished when she becomes a tyrant, terrorizing the very creatures who nursed her back to health. When life becomes intolerable, the mice craft a collar with a bell to warn them of Marmalade's approach, but who will take on the perilous duty of belling the cat? In this book, published posthumously, the beloved, multiaward-winning McKissack leaves readers one more insightful tale that teaches the value of self-reliance and gently cautions against believing preconceived notions. Reminiscent of Margery Sharpe's The Rescuers, the classed society of mice enlists aid from the dreaded rats and even a barn bird before they are forced to rely on a most unexpected ally. Cyr, in his debut picture book, creates an atmospheric and precarious landscape through brilliant use of shadow and color. Marmalade's eyes, a lugubrious shade of yellow, convey the full extent of her villainy, while the scale of the mice in the shadowy barn reinforces the danger that they are in. A black nuclear family is seamlessly integrated in the conclusion.A lovely posthumous gift that will undoubtedly draw readers into the prolific author's body of work. (Picture book. 4-7)
COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
March 1, 2018
PreS-Gr 2-A group of mice save a freezing feline, warming the orange cat on a bed of straw and sharing their food. When Marmalade regains her strength, however, she immediately does what cats are known for: terrorizing mice. Smart Mouse gets an idea when she finds an old sleigh bell; the bell will make an alarm! Together the mice create a collar for Marmalade to alert them when she nears. But who could possible put the bell on the cat? Certainly not the mice; not even the local (and vicious) rats. But when four giants ( a human family) arrive at the farm, the smallest one takes an interest in Marmalade and gently places the collar around the cat's neck. This way, the girl will always know her cat friend's whereabouts. Dramatic use of dark and light presents a threatening Marmalade and the large-eyed colony of mild-mannered mice from various perspectives. Soft lines of the digitally created illustrations do little to mitigate the harsh appearance of the devilish cat which softens considerably when seen from a distance with the young girl. McKissack's retelling of this fable from India ends with a different but satisfying twist. VERDICT A worthy addition to home and school libraries by a master storyteller, perfect for storytime or one-on-one sharing.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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