From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2?When Bob MacNally's cat dies, he is so sad that he doesn't even want to celebrate his 52nd birthday. His daughter, Maureen, and their irrepressible preschool neighbor Alfie decide to cheer Bob up by throwing a surprise party. The day before the event, Maureen gets her father a kitten. In order to keep her present a surprise, Alfie hides it overnight in his bedroom but finds it tough to sleep while the curious animal explores and plays. This is an endearing story about friendship. The death aspect is understated and does not overwhelm the story or Alfie himself. The illustrations are muted with clear lines set against soft backgrounds and feature Hughes's familiar cherublike characters. Purchase where the other books about Alfie are popular.?Christy Norris Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 2^-5. Alfie reaches from his own home to the neighbors across the street in the latest touching story about the sturdy English toddler and the mundane and momentous events of his day. When the neighbors' old cat, Smoky, dies, everyone is sad ("Why does Smoky have to be dead?" Alfie wants to know). They bury Smoky, and they all cry. Alfie helps his young teenage neighbor, Maureen MacNally, make a handsome memorial. Then they all begin to feel better--all, that is, except Maureen's dad, Bob MacNally. Alfie suggests they give Bob a surprise birthday party to cheer him up. Tension builds as they shop for presents and bake the cake in secret; and best of all, Maureen asks Alfie to hide her gift of a kitten. Preschoolers will appreciate the honest talk about the death of a pet, and they will love the story of the secret and the surprise. Hughes' line-and-watercolor pictures express the toddler's earnest body language--shoulders back, arms stiff, tummy out--and the tenderness between different ages across generations and across the street. When Alfie shows his little sister, Annie Rose, how to play with the new kitten, how not to squeeze it too hard, Alfie is passing on the love he has learned. Hazel Rochman