|Totally secret secret (Ballet Cat)|
Author: Shea, Bob
#1--While Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play, they each share an important secret.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 1.90
Points: .5 Quiz: 175070
School Library Journal (+) (00/05/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2015 PreS-Gr 2—Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are great friends. One day, when choosing what to play, Sparkles picks making crafts. "Yay! Crafts!" says Ballet Cat, until she has second thoughts. She loves to leap and dance, and leaping with scissors is not a good idea. Then, Sparkles suggests checkers. "Yes! Checkers!" says Ballet Cat. But then she decides that their dance kicks might knock over the checkerboard. What about selling lemonade? "The lemonade will splash when we spin," says Ballet Cat. There seems to be only one activity that goes with leaping, kicking, and spinning. "We could play ballet," suggests Sparkles unenthusiastically. The problem is, they play ballet every day, and Ballet Cat is slow in noticing that Sparkles is not at all interested. Sparkles is acting glum and has a "secret secret," namely that he sometimes does not like ballet. He is afraid that revealing this fact will mean they are no longer best friends. But Ballet Cat has a secret of her own. There is something that she loves even more than ballet: Sparkles. In the last panel, they are happily playing checkers. This early reader has simple, vivacious cartoon artwork done in inks with digital enhancements. Shea's signature style and bright bold colors add to the fun. Although the text is somewhat sophisticated and the dialogue is entirely in word balloons, the humor and theme of friendship and sharing will have broad appeal beyond the beginning reader set. VERDICT Move over Elephant and Piggie!—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2015 Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are best friends, but even best friends sometimes have trouble finding something to do. Sparkles makes suggestions (Crafts! Checkers! A lemonade sale!), but Ballet Cat vetoes everything in favor of their usual activity: ballet, of course. The whirling, leaping, energetic Cat takes up much of the page as she dances, while in the background, a very deadpan Sparkles goes through the motions (“Whee”). But they are best friends, after all, and Ballet Cat can tell that something is bothering Sparkles. Sparkles is afraid to tell the truth: Ballet Cat loves ballet, and if Sparkles doesn’t want to play, will she still want to be friends? Some of the humor and dialogue may lend itself more to an older audience, but the bright, monochromatic illustrations and Ballet Cat’s wacky energy will attract kids as well. An appealing story about how even best friends can disagree sometimes. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 Sparkle Pony wants to make crafts or play checkers or have a lemonade stand, but Ballet Cat finds fault with each suggestion because none of them work well with her preferred activity, ballet. Sparkle Pony grudgingly gives in but finally comes clean with his secret secret: “Sometimes I don’t want to play ballet!” She reveals that she loves him even more than ballet, and the final illustration finds the friends happily playing checkers amidst glasses of lemonade and craft supplies. While the basic idea here is not a new one, this is a perennial kid conflict, and the honesty and support that Sparkle Pony and Ballet Cat give each other provide an appropriate model. The story is told entirely in dialogue, and Shea injects his own brand of humor into the text (“Is the secret that you are not so great at ballet? That is not a very secret secret, Sparkles”); additionally, the font size is effectively varied to indicate emotion, with smaller print used in moments of worry or sarcastic acquiescence and larger print indicating excitement or frustration. Shea’s illustrations, with childlike draftsmanship in bold, crayon-like outlines and candy hues of pink, purple, turquoise, and bright green, humorously underscore the emotional terrain. The vocabulary and somewhat lengthier text make this a step up from Willems’ Elephant & Piggie series in terms of difficulty, and primary-grade readers ready for that challenge will take to this like Ballet Cat to a pirouette. JH - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.