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Elemenopeo Hardcover – September 28, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 160L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books (September 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395904935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395904930
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1-Elemenopeo (L-M-N-O-P-O) is no ordinary house cat. This pet enjoys bagels with lox and cream cheese for breakfast, playing hide-and-seek with the birds (Elemenopeo is dismayed when they fly away and tries to reassure them it is only a game), and being with other feline friends. One day, when the cat can't go outside, it finds an easel and paints a large self-portrait with the addition of wings, then curls up and dreams of flying adventures. This is an innocuous story, illustrated with full-page childlike paintings of the small black-and-white animal and its escapades. There are many livelier cat stories to engage a child's imagination; this one is strictly additional.
Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 4^-8. Elemenopeo is the name of a cat--and a perfect name it is. It happily reflects the sensibility of many a preschooler who has thought that "L-M-N-O-P" was one long, glorious word found smack in the middle of the alphabet. And this black-and-white cat bears the name well, as it is a rather unusual cat. Oh, it pursues the typical cat diversions--bird-watching, gamboling with a cat friend, and napping--but this cat has an artistic bent. Feeling a bit constrained because the cat door is closed (apparently for repairs), Elemenopeo decides to paint a picture--a self-portrait of a black-and-white feline with wings: "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Bird." A tired little cat, Elemenopeo then curls up (where else but in the paint box?) to dream of flying. Saaf's own paint pots were filled with splendid colors that he transferred to the pages, and his naive-style pictures perfectly suit Ziefert's whimsical tale. Shelley Townsend-Hudson

More About the Author

Harriet Ziefert was born in New Jersey. She grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, where she attended the local schools. She graduated from Smith College, then received a Masters degree in Education from New York University. "About twelve years ago," says Ziefert in a 1995 interview, "I tried to get a job as an editor, but no one would hire me as a trade editor. So I decided to write my own books." Since then, she has written several hundred books, mostly picture books and easy-to-read books. "I write books very quickly," she says, "in about twelve hours. I rewrite them three times over three days, and then they're done." She writes about twenty books a year. Ziefert's picture book A New Coat for Anna is about a girl in a bombed-out European city during the months just after World War II. Anna has outgrown her old coat, and her mother trades her few surviving treasures--a watch, a lamp, a necklace, and a porcelain teapot--in order to obtain wool and have it spun, woven, and finally sewn into a fine red coat for Anna. A Horn Book Magazine reviewer stated, "the simple text, based on a true story, carries the narrative along effectively." The book, which was illustrated by Anita Lobel, was chosen as one of ten books to be read aloud by former First Lady Barbara Bush as part of a program promoting reading. Ziefert was invited to the White House for the occasion. The reason Ziefert began writing easy-to-read books was that she felt "they were getting too hard for kids to read in the first grade." She says that she wrote easy-to-read books with seventy-five or fewer words, even ones with fifty or fewer words, "to see how much of a story" she could produce with that limit. She enjoyed the challenge, and cites her book Sleepy Dog as an example. "Sleepy Dog is the most successful book I've ever done, in terms of number of books sold." She's also been working on a developmental program with publisher Dorling Kindersley, made up of books for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Her book Pete's Chicken, which was illustrated by Laura Rader, was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review as "a simple, sweet 'Song of Myself' for children . . . [which] applauds the specialness of every child as it reminds parents of the healing power of just being there for children." Among her other books is a series of easy-to-read books, such as Trip Day and Worm Day, about an inventive science teacher and his rambunctious class of students. Ziefert's book Let's Get a Pet was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children by a joint committee of the National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council. . Ms. Ziefert lives in Maplewood, New Jersey and Lincoln, Massachusetts. She has two adult sons.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cindy on December 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Elemenopeo isn't my favorite children's book, but it's in the top twenty. I'm kind of surprised by the lukewarm reviews this book has received. While no one seems to hate this book, it is consistently faulted for being fluffy or boring or bland. While I can't completely disagree with any of those adjectives, I don't see it as a problem. In fact, the gentle simplicity of this story is what I like best about it.
My kids(2-7)love this book - I think because it seems so authentic to them. Elemenopeo is a regular cat and that forms the basis of this story. Cats are usually pretty set in their ways, but they will risk an occasional - very careful - adventure if they're sure it won't put them in an undignified situation or get their fur wet. Cats also feel that they are entitled to their own set of eccentric whims, such as eating bagels and lox for breakfast every morning. Like Seinfeld was a sitcom about nothing, and this cat story is just the same. My older kids know that cats hate adventures, so this 'boring' story about a cat who has a wonderful day doing very little makes sense to them. I wouldn't say that it's necessary to be a cat person in order to enjoy this book, but it helps. Elemenopeo gets a great deal of pleasure from the ordinariness of her day, and anyone can understand that. But I suspect that only people who really like cats will see that there is humor in this story. Even if this book really is boring (don't think sparse . . . think spare!), the wonderful illustrations make up for it. The paintings are vivid and colorful - lots of fun for kids and grownups to look at. BONUS: If you are familiar with modern painting you'll probably notice an uncanny resemblance between the pictures in the book and the art of Marc Chagall.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thea M. Ryan on February 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Love this book at our house! We found it at the library and our young daughter had a hard time bringing it back. Thanks to a gift, this book is in our permanent collection now! Elemenopeo is a great book about a sweet cat who is very set in her ways. When her daily routine is interrrupted, she has to get very creative! It's fun for the kids and fun to read out loud!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's a short story about a cat who gets trapped inside for a day and decides to paint a picture. Yes, its simple, but its also magical. The illustrations are original, bright and fun to look at. My three children love it!
I'd ignore the Horn Book review. A pointless story? Only for those who believe simple things are pointless. Some people still find simple things beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ziefert and Saaf have collaborated on a number of books; Saaf's fluid paintings possess a marvelous charm that imbue Ziefert's quirky characters with wonderful personality. Such is the case here, though Elemenopeo is not Ziefert's most inspired tale. Elemenopeo is an artistic cat with an active imagination, whose own talents are surprisingly childlike and convincing. But the story is a little lightweight, whimsical but on the fluffy side.
This book is part of our collection, and always evokes a smile when it's pulled off the shelves. Nonetheless - perhaps because I'm not a cat person - it's the Ziefert/Saaf books about Pushkin the dog which get a lot more use in our household.
Your child, and you, will probably enjoy Elemenopeo. But be sure to check out the other collaborative efforts of this writer/artist team as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you still love a book when you've read it upwards of 200 times it's a great investment. My daughter is two and loves animals. I'm forty (plus) and an artist (and not a cat fan). We're both intrigued by this wonderful, and wonderfully illustrated, story of a resourceful cat who, thwarted in his daily birdchasing activities decides to become an artist instead. I particularly appreciate his (lack of) humility in assessing his work: "Then I step back to take a look at my picture. Wow! It's good. I like it. I'm an artist!"
Get this book!
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