Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Small Readers: Ballet Cat: What's your favorite favorite? by Bob Shea

I'm going to voice an unpopular opinion - I'm not really a fan of Ballet Cat. I often like Bob Shea and Ballet Cat is hailed as a successor to Elephant and Piggie, but I just can't get into them myself and I don't care for this title in particular.

Ballet Cat and Goat are putting together shows for Grandma. Naturally, Ballet Cat is planning a ballet show, but Goat is going to do a magic show and he says that magic is Grandma's favorite favorite! Even Ballet Cat has to admit she really wants to see The Great Goatini's magic act. But then Goat checks out Ballet Cat's ballet show and.... it looks pretty good too! Which will be Grandma's favorite favorite? When they present their shows to Grandma, a tiny and rather overwhelmed dog, Grandma falls asleep during their frenetic antics. When they press her to declare her "favorite favorite" she quickly comes up with the answer of "mint chocolate chip" and they end the day with ice cream.

Shea's art is just too... busy for an easy reader, in my opinion. There are a lot of sketchy lines, leaping across the page, bright backgrounds of orange, pink, and turquoise, see-through sketched in items, and rapid shifts in perspective and size. While kids do find them amusing and enjoy them, they're really not ideal for an easy reader. There's too much going on and the vocabulary and combination of the art are too challenging for the audience they're aimed at. I also find them annoying, but that's more a personal thing. I'd prefer a more straight-forward story and the weird, illogical nonsense just doesn't click with me.

Verdict: I do purchase these and use them in book clubs occasionally. Some kids really like them, but they're not as popular as Elephant and Piggie, Duck, Duck, Porcupine, or Jan Thomas' new series The Giggle Gang.

ISBN: 9781484778098; Published 2017 by Disney-Hyperion; Purchased for the library

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