From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In this classic fairy tale, a clever cat enables his master to marry the king's daughter. After convincing the king that his humble young master is a wealthy count, Puss flatters a rich shape-shifting ogre, encourages him to turn into a mouse, and devours him. The cat welcomes the king and princess to his master's castle (formerly the ogre's). A wedding is announced and the cat is honored by the king. Though changed in a few details, the story is essentially that of Charles Perrault, who is credited in the appended artist's note. Pinkney's version is set in France, evidently around the time of the tale's first publication (1697). Created with graphite, colored pencils, and watercolors, the illustrations vary from the relatively simple, rustic opening scenes, in which characters stand out clearly against light or white backgrounds, to the later ones, which are often so ornate overall that the eye tends to wander from one element to another. A richly detailed version of the tale.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Following earlier interpretations of The Little Red Hen and Little Red Riding Hood, Caldecott Medalist Pinkney (The Lion & the Mouse) offers another sumptuous reimagining of a classic story, this time drawing inspiration from 18th-century France, when Perrault's tale was first translated into English. Working in graphite, colored pencil, and watercolors, Pinkney offers finely detailed portrayals of both the autumnal countryside of dense birch forests and busy fields and the imposing architecture and lavish fashions of the period. Pinkney portrays Puss in naturalistic detail, yet his mischievous, quick-thinking personality radiates from his outsize gestures and facial expressions. As in the original story, Puss-looking dapper in flared scarlet boots and a brimmed hat with turquoise plume-works behind the scenes to engineer a regal life for his master, the youngest son of a miller. Pinkney makes Puss's major triumph (tricking a shape-shifting sorcerer out of his castle) especially dramatic, using a gatefold to show off the man's metamorphosis into a ferocious bear. Given the breathtaking graphics, Pinkney's well-crafted narrative is almost a bonus. Ages 4-8. Agent: Sheldon Fogelman, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 4-Set in early-18th-century France, this adaptation of Charles Perrault's classic tale is filled with lushly delineated period details, moments of tingling excitement, and playful humor. The protagonist, a handsome silver-tabby British shorthair, boasts elegant black-velvet stripes and intelligent green eyes. Bequeathed to a miller's youngest son, the can-do cat promises that he will prove his worth if provided with appropriate footwear and a draw-string sack. Puss gets to work, cunningly using the sack to hunt game, courteously presenting his prizes to the king, and continually singing the praises of his master (dubbed the Count of Carabas). Cleverly orchestrating a meeting between the young man and the king's lovely daughter, Puss bamboozles the monarch into believing that Benjamin is a man of means and then procures these riches by tricking an evil sorcerer out of his holdings. The story ends with a royal wedding and Puss-now prime minister-contemplating future adventures (the rear endpaper shows him captaining a sailing ship). The text clearly relates the plot with lyrical language and vivacious energy, and the color-pencil and watercolor artwork showcases the period's costumes, architecture, and landscapes. Perfectly timed highpoints (and a foldout page) emphasize the sorcerer's transformations into various animals (in response to Puss's taunting dare), as well as the cat pouncing on the man-turned-helpless-mouse. Accessible and eye-catching, this is a fitting companion to Fred Marcellino's exquisite rendition (Farrar, 1990).-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.