PreSchool-Grade 2–Caramba is ashamed that he cannot fly like the other cats. Confiding in his flightless friend Portia the pig, he practices flying in secret. He lands in some comical predicaments but remains frustrated and grounded. When his cousins try teaching him to get airborne by carrying him over the ocean and letting go, a scary fall to the bottom teaches Caramba that even though he can't perform like they do, he can do something they cannot. He can swim. Gay's characteristic gentle and funny watercolor illustrations make the story more appealing and the characters more alive. Once kids accept the flying cats, they will enjoy this subtle fantasy with its themes of self-esteem and individuality.–Julie Roach, Watertown Free Public Library, MA
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K-Gr. 3. Caramba is despondent because he can't fly like all the other kittens. He tries to hide his failure, even from his porcine friend Portia, but cousins Bijou and Bug find out, hoist him into the sky, and let go. Does Caramba fly? Nope, he drops like a stone into the ocean--where he discovers not only a fascinating undersea world but also a very un-catlike ability to swoop and somersault through the water. "Cats can't swim! Everyone knows that!" cries Bijou. "Well, I can," is Caramba's exuberant response. Young self-doubters will take heart from this imaginative reworking of an enduring theme, illustrated in Gay's delicate, appropriately splashy watercolors. John Peters
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