Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's a secret! by John Burningham

While there are some Burningham works I find fascinating and well-deserving of his high reputation, many of them just don't speak to me.

Marie Elaine wants to know where her cat, Malcolm, goes at night. She finds him all dressed up one evening and accompanies him - and a few other stragglers - into the night. After a few mild adventures with dogs, they finish up on the rooftops. There they meet many other cats and finally the Queen of the Cats. They slip back home and Marie Elaine is tired but happy, now that she knows where cats go at night - but she can't tell anyone, because it's a secret.

The story just fell flat for me. There's no strong thread of action or character to hold it together. While I like some of Burningham's illustrations, these felt repetitive and scrawly. The view of the city rooftops as they climb a crane is eye-catching, but the other illustrations swing wildly from watery and colorless sketches to painfully brilliant splotches of color against dark and grim backgrounds.

Verdict: This one really didn't work for me and I have trouble seeing it appealing to children because of the slow plot and flat storytelling.

ISBN:978-0763642754; Published June 2009 by Candlewick; Borrowed from the library.

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