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Bijou, Bonbon and Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas Hardcover – April 1, 1998
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"On a blustery day long ago, a weary cat crossed a bridge over the river Seine in Paris. All afternoon, she had been searching for a warm place." So begins Bijou, Bonbon & Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas, Joan Sweeney's second playful peek at the art world after her critically acclaimed Once upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet's Garden. In Bijou, Marmalade, the weary cat in question, decides to stop in a Parisian theater known for its ballet and its resident artist, Edgar Degas.
Et voilà! The next morning Madame Duvay discovers Marmalade and three adorable kittens--Bijou, Bonbon, and Beau. The friendly felines make themselves right at home--to the delight of the dancers and Degas, who quietly sketches them: "Oh, the mischief they got into! They chased after the ballerinas and slept in their toeshoes. They got tangled in Madame Duvay's thread and ran off with her ribbons." On the big opening night there is a bona fide feline fiasco as the kittens make their dancing debut! Furious, the stage manager threatens to throw the kittens out on the street--but of course the next day they are the talk of the town, and they are allowed to stay.
This charming story, illustrated by Leslie Wu with Degas-like pastels, includes a gatefold reproduction of Degas's The Rehearsal on the Stage, and a short biography of the artist. "Wu makes the obvious choice of imitating the impressionists in hazy pastels but takes imaginative leaps with her perspectives (e.g., one playful picture shows the backs of the kittens as they view the performing dancers)--and her kittens are undeniably adorable," says Publishers Weekly. Cat lovers, art lovers, and young ballerinas rejoice! Bijou, Bonbon & Beau has a little something for all of you. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Cat lovers will embrace this pretty tale of a pregnant stray who gives birth to kittens in the theater where impressionist painter Edgar Degas sketches dancers. The feline family is threatened by a huffy stage manager, but Degas stands up for them, even when they ruin his drawings. When the kittens interrupt a performance, however, it seems certain they'll be evictedAbut the audience finds them charming, so they are saved. Sweeney's (Once Upon a Lily Pad) serviceable prose descends periodically into caricature ("Sacre bleu!" cries the stage manager), and the character of Degas never comes into focus. She is similarly fuzzy with details (all of the dancers are called ballerinas, for example), and may thus disappoint ballet students. In her picture book debut, Wu makes the obvious choice of imitating the impressionist in hazy pastels but takes imaginative leaps with her perspectives (e.g., one playful picture shows the backs of the offstage kittens as they view the performing dancers)Aand her kittens are undeniably adorable. A gatefold on the last page reproduces Degas's The Rehearsal on the Stage and invites readers to search for paw prints among the shadows. Ages 2-6.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Illustrated in the style of Degas, I found the illustrations both beautiful and adorable! The Degas-ballet art is lovely and fluid, and the cats are simply adorable!
I really enjoyed the story, and felt the only drawback was the non-fiction tie-in, because I felt that, while what was there was nice, I wanted a bit more. There is good a mini-bio on Degas, great for getting kids hooked and then searching for more, but I wanted to know more on the other characters mentioned (are they real?) and what, exactly do the kittens' names mean for those of us who aren't familiar with the French language. While this, too, may have been intentional to encourage young readers to search further, I, personally, would have liked just a bit more included in the book itself.
Also, on two VERY personal 'pet-peeve' notes, MUST we call them "toe-shoes" - I cringe... and ARE there cat prints in the Degas painting? If so, more info to spot them would be nice. If not, how much time will I waste hunting for something that's not there?
I really did enjoy the book, and the art is lovely and I thought the author/artist duo worked well and that the writing style fit the illustrations. A lovely book, and I would definitely recommend it!
There is also a young artist in the book who spends a lot of time sketching the ballet dancers. He also tries to keep peace in the theater. He wants to convince the stage manager to like the cats, but the stage manager does not listen.
I'd like to say that the pictures by Leslie Wu are so beautiful and make you want to just look at them over and over! Leslie Wu copied Edgar Degas' style. At the end of the book, they show the Rehearsal On The Stage (one of Degas' paintings). Do you remember the young artist I just mentioned? Well, I think that the author meant him to be Edgar Degas!
I think you should read this book especially if you want to know how to dance ballet or even play a sport because you can do anything you choose to do... even if you are a cat! I would also recommend this book to kids/grown-ups that like cats because the cats and even the dancers are just like Edgar Degas' paintings. They are fuzzy and light-colored. If you did now know who painted the pictures, I bet you would guess that Edgar Degas was the artist!
"No one saw a cat slip through the back door." Kitties may cause mischief, yet can win over even the grumpiest of persons, in this case, Mr. Klenk. I don't want to give away the story, so please enjoy reading this amusing book with your little girl, or buy it for your older reader. Great book for girls aged five to twelve.
As a dear friend of mine recently shared with me, "Kitties are angels in fur." So true. I certainly love my cat and can't imagine what I'd do without her. I've only had her close to two months and it feels like a lifetime.
Tara, I respectfully disagree with your asessment of the prose. Keep in mind this is a children's book. The tone flows smoothly and is a wonderful soothing story that does not excite my daughter when I'm trying to get her ready for bed.