"On a blustery day long ago, a weary cat crossed a bridge over the river Seine in Paris. All afternoon, she had been searching for a warm place." So begins Bijou, Bonbon & Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas
, Joan Sweeney's second playful peek at the art world after her critically acclaimed Once upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet's Garden
. In Bijou
, Marmalade, the weary cat in question, decides to stop in a Parisian theater known for its ballet and its resident artist, Edgar Degas.
Et voilà! The next morning Madame Duvay discovers Marmalade and three adorable kittens--Bijou, Bonbon, and Beau. The friendly felines make themselves right at home--to the delight of the dancers and Degas, who quietly sketches them: "Oh, the mischief they got into! They chased after the ballerinas and slept in their toeshoes. They got tangled in Madame Duvay's thread and ran off with her ribbons." On the big opening night there is a bona fide feline fiasco as the kittens make their dancing debut! Furious, the stage manager threatens to throw the kittens out on the street--but of course the next day they are the talk of the town, and they are allowed to stay.
This charming story, illustrated by Leslie Wu with Degas-like pastels, includes a gatefold reproduction of Degas's The Rehearsal on the Stage, and a short biography of the artist. "Wu makes the obvious choice of imitating the impressionists in hazy pastels but takes imaginative leaps with her perspectives (e.g., one playful picture shows the backs of the kittens as they view the performing dancers)--and her kittens are undeniably adorable," says Publishers Weekly. Cat lovers, art lovers, and young ballerinas rejoice! Bijou, Bonbon & Beau has a little something for all of you. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Cat lovers will embrace this pretty tale of a pregnant stray who gives birth to kittens in the theater where impressionist painter Edgar Degas sketches dancers. The feline family is threatened by a huffy stage manager, but Degas stands up for them, even when they ruin his drawings. When the kittens interrupt a performance, however, it seems certain they'll be evictedAbut the audience finds them charming, so they are saved. Sweeney's (Once Upon a Lily Pad) serviceable prose descends periodically into caricature ("Sacre bleu!" cries the stage manager), and the character of Degas never comes into focus. She is similarly fuzzy with details (all of the dancers are called ballerinas, for example), and may thus disappoint ballet students. In her picture book debut, Wu makes the obvious choice of imitating the impressionist in hazy pastels but takes imaginative leaps with her perspectives (e.g., one playful picture shows the backs of the offstage kittens as they view the performing dancers)Aand her kittens are undeniably adorable. A gatefold on the last page reproduces Degas's The Rehearsal on the Stage and invites readers to search for paw prints among the shadows. Ages 2-6.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.