From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—"Bootsy was the family cat, and everyone loved her." And because everyone loves her, everyone has a different interpretation of what makes her so lovable. When she plays with a ball of yarn, Grandma calls her a clown. When she leaps with a slipper between her paws, Father calls her a football star. When she pokes about in the aquarium, Grandfather calls her a fisherman. Although she is merely doing what cats do, the adults' attempts to impose roles upon her lead to debate between the children. Adoring Jeff is willing to anoint Bootsy the best clown, footballer, or fisherman. But practical Ginny sees the downside to each scenario: the bright lights of the big top would frighten her; football is too dangerous; fishing is too wet. Consensus is not reached until Jeff declares her the best cat in the world and Ginny heartily agrees. There isn't much story here in the point and counterpoint of the children's argument, but Gorbachev has taken this slender tale and fleshed it out with trademark warmth and cheer. Each triumphant imagining for Bootsy is humorously illustrated, before being just as humorously deflated by Ginny's pragmatic scenarios. In the end, Bootsy is simply a cuddly house cat, beloved for what she does best—being Bootsy.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
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Bootsy is the family cat, and everyone loves her. Grandmother thinks “she is a real clown,” and Jeff agrees. But sister Ginny takes a more literal stance. Bootsy can’t be a clown because she’d be scared by the applause. Jeff, as it turns out, agrees with every family member who has a special description of Bootsy (“She is the best ballerina in the world!”), while Ginny continues to differ (“She wouldn’t like wearing a tutu.”). The considerable fun comes in Jeff’s wholehearted support of Bootsy’s many and diverse talents, vís-à-vís Ginny’s practicality, which plays out in both pictures and text. The engaging ink-and-watercolor art cleverly shows both siblings’ perceptions of Bootsy in the turn of the page. Bootsy’s expressions, real and imagined, as all this back-and-forthing goes on are priceless. Differences of opinion aside, there’s one thing Jeff and Ginny agree on: she’s the best cat in the world. (“Though to tell the truth, she looks a wee bit like a raccoon.”) Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper