Saturday, August 18, 2007

Carlotta's Kittens And The Club of Mysteries--Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

I am so glad I pulled this off the shelves down in Children's. It's a wonderful book. I've been mostly disappointed in our offerings--and face it, everyone just wants the crack cocaine of internet games, WWE, Disney Channel, Bratz, et al. But still, it's hard to push books on them when what we've got are dull series books for easy readers. If Cam Jansen were my kid, I'd beat the photographic memory right out of her--she's so annoying.

This is a wonderful chapter book, featuring excellent characterization and an easy to follow storyline, and elegant prose. It's a good bedtime read aloud book.

The Club of Mysteries is a group of cats lead by the old, battered tom Texas Jake and composed of brothers Marco (the smart one) and Polo (the dumb one), Boots, and Elvis. And the beautiful calico Carlotta, who has gone off to have kittens. The boy cats are awaiting her return, because they all want to play daddy to Carlotta's kittens and win her favor. But the club realizes they have a very serious task at hand helping to raise these little kittens and keep them safe from all the dangers of the neighborhood.

(Okay, let's remember we're reading a children's book about anthropomorphized animals, and forget what activities lead to kittens and what Carlotta did. There's no neck biting and mounting in this book! The Club of Mysteries is composed of perfect gentleman bachelor kitties.)

Naylor's strengths are her characterization--she really gets the cat viewpoint of the world down--and gentle humor. I much enjoyed this soothing read.

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