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Bad Kitty Hardcover – September 15, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–This four-part alphabet book will appeal to youngsters who like their stories more naughty than nice. The tale opens with Kitty learning that her owners have run out of cat food and that her only options are healthy and nutritious edibles that run the gamut from Asparagus to Zucchini. She reacts by doing an A-to-Z list of mischievous things, like claw[ing] the curtains and hurl[ing] hair balls at our heads. When her owners return with food that ranges from An Assortment of Anchovies to Baked Zebra Ziti, Kitty realizes she must atone for her bad behavior with a final list of alphabetical deeds such as cleaning the cat box and washing the car. Some actions and items are a bit of a stretch, in particular sQuashes for Q and rhUbarb for U. While the story is packed with colorful cartoon illustrations that introduce each object, it is Kitty who steals the show with her slyly drawn feline expressions. Intended for slightly older alphabet-book fans, this offering will attract readers with a taste for the ridiculous.–Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
K-Gr. 2. Ostensibly about a cat that turns bad when her family runs out of her favorite food, this is really a clever alphabet book for kids old enough to appreciate the way words work. When a calm kitty overhears her owner say that healthy food is now on the menu, the high-energy artwork shows the cat in paroxysms of horror set against a series of blocks containing pictures of vegetables, alphabetically arranged from asparagus to zucchini. That's when Kitty decides to become Bad Kitty: she "ate my homework . . . hurled hair balls at our heads." Kitty changes again after her owner returns with an A-Z assortment of good, if peculiar, treats, some of which may give readers pause (a donkey named Dave). But Kitty is happy with them all, and to show her pleasure, she undoes all her bad actions--in alphabetical order. The cat, with seemingly dozens of expressions, is the star, but other aspects of the amusingly silly illustrations have equal weight. There's so much going on here that kids will find lots to laugh about. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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There are movies which from the moment the first credit rolls right onto the screen to the moment that the last credit rolls off the screen are a cinematic experience. Bad Kitty offers the equivalent experience in picture book form. From the front cover, to the title page, through even the small print and the dedication, right to the back cover, pretty much every page is a visual treat. Immediately inside, the title book page displays the handiwork of Bad Kitty: Paw prints mark almost every inch of the room; Tossed about in various locations across the living room are foods from an overturned fruit bowl. Finally, there is a cracked painting, scratched lamp, ripped couch, and emptied desk. As for the parade of alphabet pages, each displays four colorfully-framed examples of food or mischief drawn in delightful line art. Bad Kitty makes her appearance on each page, most often in the center, wearing very pronounced expressions. I can’t imagine reading this book without being inspired to create a fan tale. Even the front and back covers have a tie-in, although you might need to read the entire book to see the connection.
With regards to the alphabet, Bruel takes readers through it not just once, twice, or thrice, but FOUR times! The first time through, Bruel displays all the foods which the family has left and that Bad Kitty does not want to eat. All of them are healthy options including lettuce and radishes. My only complaint is that some, such as mushrooms and onions, shouldn’t have even been offered because they are in reality toxic to cats. The second time, Bruel shows us all the ways that Bad Kitty invokes revenge for these foods even having been suggested. Some of the mischief is not common to cats such as biting ankles and clawing curtains, while others are more original such as flooding the bathroom. The third time, Bruel displays all the new foods which the family buys for Bad Kitty, all of which is immensely appealing to a cat. My favorites include fried flies and lizard lasagna. The fourth and final time, Bruel shows all the ways that Bad Kitty made amends for all the damage he inflicted, many of which parallel the original examples including apologizing to Grandma for biting her ankle and repairing the curtains that he ripped.
You should view Bad Kitty as pure silliness and entertainment. If a lesson is to be drawn though, you might find it in the fact that Bad Kitty does decide to become a good kitty. Moreover, she immediately sets about trying to set all wrongs to right. She cleans her overturned litter box, kisses a goldfish, and mops the bathroom, to name a few examples. Then again, when her owners try to reward her with a new play friend…. Well, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Bad Kitty is bad. But she doesn’t always mean to. Whatever your age, I dare you to not love Bad Kitty. I suspect that every page and each new book will have you laughing at all of Bad Kitty’s antics. She is just that adorable and fun.
I'm going to be switching over to Barns and Noble to buy books.
Basically this is a quadruple alphabet book - it goes through alphabetical lists of the foods Kitty doesn't like, the myriad of ways in which she was bad, the foods her owner bought to placate her, and the many reparations Kitty then made for her badness.
The illustrations are charming (I especially like the little fang kitty develops when she becomes bad), and the need to use the whole alphabet results in a broader vocabulary than is found in most children's books. It is wonderful for reading aloud (especially when the boys provide Kitty's sounds effects, e.g. "hack, hack!"), and the opportunities to point out someone else's outrageously bad behavior are very welcome to my pair of naughty small fry.
I think this book could be enjoyed by kids of almost any age, as with "The Stinky Cheese Man," which I started to read to my eldest at age 2; kids can enjoy quite sophisticated humor given a little background information, and they really like being "in" on jokes and sharing knowing smiles. My 6-year-old is a beginning reader and can use it to sharpen his decoding skills while laughing out loud.
The only reservation I have is that it does present as "yucky" several of the foods I try to feed my family...
Still, I am adding it to my shopping cart today; as noted by other readers, it is a charming gift, and I really should pass one on to my brothers (for their kids, yeah, that's the ticket)...