Come Meet Muffin!

Come Meet Muffin!

by Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Graham
     
 

When the Smith family rescues Muffin on the side of a country road, he appears to be a typical lost kitten in search of a home. But little Lily Smith soon discovers that this watermelon-loving, peanut-butter eating new friend is no ordinary kitty!

Muffin sits at the dinner table, enjoys lettuce and rye crackers, and keeps a protective eye on the other cats in the

Overview

When the Smith family rescues Muffin on the side of a country road, he appears to be a typical lost kitten in search of a home. But little Lily Smith soon discovers that this watermelon-loving, peanut-butter eating new friend is no ordinary kitty!

Muffin sits at the dinner table, enjoys lettuce and rye crackers, and keeps a protective eye on the other cats in the family. One chilly winter morning, Muffin notices two lost fawns outside Lily's bedroom window. Determined to be helpful to others, Muffin heads out into the forest to deliver the fawns back to their mother. Hooting owls, grumpy squirrels, and chirping chickadees are encountered along the way, until Muffin realizes he has roamed very far into unfamiliar surroundings. The resourceful cat learns that he must rely on his own ingenuity to get himself out of trouble and back into the warmth of his cozy home.

In her first children's book, Joyce Carol Oates pairs playful prose with the exquisite naturalistic oil paintings of Mark Graham. Engaging and atmospheric, this charming tale is one that children will want to hear again and again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Oates makes a false step with her first children's book, a strained tale of a kitten found by the side of the road. At the urging of their daughter, Lily, the Smiths take Muffin home, where he is "welcomed" by their two other cats. The tone, unfortunately, is condescending ("Muffin is a special kitty who came to live with the Smith family," Oates begins), and the writing cumbersome, especially during the frequent shifts in point of view: "But Muffin always let the other cats eat first, especially little Christabel because he loved her the most. Christabel, however, who was very pretty, with orange, white, and dark markings, sometimes hurt Muffin's feelings by ignoring him." The hero lives up to his description as "special" one snowy morning, when he jumps out a window (which is open, despite the season) to lead two lost fawns into the woods where he manages to locate their mother (who "thanked Muffin for his help"). Oates further taxes narrative logic when Muffin, who isn't sure how to get home, climbs to the top of a tall evergreen, from which he spots his house, miles away, and concludes, "I was never lost, really. My house was always there." Far more convincing are Graham's (The Dream Jar) softly focused oil paintings, which offer realistic renderings of Muffin and the other animal characters and convey the love between Muffin and the Smith's angelic young daughter. But the warm, atmospheric art doesn't make up for the thin, precious narrative. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Tammy Cullers
Muffin the kitten has been adopted by the Smith family. He likes to sit at the table and eat watermelon and rye crackers with the children. Muffin enjoys running and playing with the other kittens in the clan, but most of all, he loves Christabel, the little orange and white cat with dark markings. She likes Muffin, but sometimes she hurts his feelings by ignoring him. One snowy morning, Muffin discovers two fawns in the yard. He realizes they have been separated from their mother, so he sets out on a mission to return the lost babies to their home. His journey is made perilous by frozen brooks and slippery hills, but he eventually locates the doe and reunites her with her little ones. His successful return earns him a hero's welcome, which includes dinner with the Smiths and, most importantly, a kiss from Christabel! This beautifully illustrated book tells a story of love, loyalty and courage in a style that is both simple and charming.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780880015561
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.57(w) x 9.48(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Princeton, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
June 16, 1938
Place of Birth:
Lockport, New York
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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