From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-From her Dumpster on Straye Street Alley, Tabby D. Cat dispenses advice and wisdom to the troubled animals of Critterville. From Boots Whitepaw, who is being smothered with affection by an indulgent child owner, to Betty Bear, who has left the Dingaling Sisters' Traveling Circus after a spat with her brother, Tabby tries to guide her correspondents in their search for happiness. This epistolary picture book is attractive and easy to read, sometimes presenting the writers of the letters in the illustrations, and sometimes showing Tabby as she formulates her responses. Tabby follows her own advice, and her well-being is orchestrated through machinations and common sense, as she shines a light on how a person (or parrot, or skunk, or cat) can make her own happiness. It is a positive message, although the way it comes about might surprise some readers. This book is well suited for one-on-one sharing, with plenty of opportunity for trying on different voices. It would also serve as a fun recommendation for reluctant early elementary readers who still prefer picture books to chapter books.-Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MAα (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The author of Boris and Bella (2004) offers another humorous picture book brimming with wordplay. In typewritten letters, alley resident Tabby D. Cat dictates shrewd advice to the troubled creatures of Critterville—a pampered cat, a sad basset, a chatty parrot, a lost bear, a lonely skunk, a frantic hamster, and an anxious groundhog. Using common sense, she counsels the parrot to listen, the skunk to be patient, and the groundhog to shine on his special day. Fizzy Hamster is advised to “stop and smell the cedar chips,” while Manfred Basset is directed to sniff out happiness around him. Although some animals require more guidance than others (spoiled feline Boots runs away after his fourth whiny missive—opening up a purr-fect home for the appreciative Tabby), her wisdom eventually prevails. Roberts’ playful artwork provides many details that extend and enhance Crimi’s clever text. Share this with fans of Eileen Christelow’s Letters from a Desperate Dog (2006) and Mark Teague’s Dear Mrs. LaRue (2002). Grades K-3. --Kay Weisman